Monday, September 29, 2014

Hope, hope, hope

Made some changes to my Firefox connection.  Hopefully this will help, although it will not be a fix.  All I can get up here is dial up or satellite internet.  The satellite is at least a bit better than dial up, but it is so, so slow.

So let me try for my painting picture!

There were never sheep in that field - just a note.  The artist used a little poetic license.

Still not very fast.  Home tomorrow, so Glacier later

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Before I get to my real subject and pictures, let me just say I don't know where the time goes.  I was going to post yesterday, but the day came and went before I knew it.  But then it seems all my days are like that now.  I can't believe it's fall.  I keep thinking more like spring.  These few days I have left on this old planet are just disappearing - fast.

So to my topic.  It is rather in keeping with the paragraph above.  Today I really felt like I went back to my roots, and I made some decisions for myself.  The land where this house is located has been in G's family since 1845.  There are roots here - not necessarily mine, but roots never the less.

This morning we went to the little community of Doss where part of my roots are.  My ggggrandfather settled here after coming over from Germany.  I would guess they got here between 1840 and 1850 buying the mill from the Doss brothers.  This is an area that I have loved since G and I married and would come to see his grandmother.  I have had an affinity for that old mill.  My Christmas present last year was a painting of that mill.  I am very aware G paid WAY too much, and my framing was way too much, but it brings me such joy.  I was going to publish a picture of the picture, but the internet is moving at a snail pace today.  In fact, I am not sure there will be pictures of Glaier today either.  Just too slow.

We went to church this morning.  This is one of two old Lutheran Churches my ancestors had a lot to do with.  I know this will sound goofy, but I feel their presence when I am in those churches.  The one in San Antonio was where my gggrandfather was married - the church's first wedding.  My piano teacher kept telling me over and over that's where I should be going to church.  She was right.  I felt it right away.  My parents were trying to put me into a mold I didn't fit.

This church in Doss is not progressive - at all.  It was comforting to sit there with the old hymnal, doing the old litergy, following the same order.  Where we go now - the non-dominational we visited has the same order of service as our Lutheran church.  It is Baptist based.  Please do not get me wrong.  I loved that one we visited.  I felt comfortable - as comfortable as at Celebration.  But this morning, there was a true comfort and peace.  Singing the "old hymns" to organ music.  I was home.  It was good.

With the internet moving at a snail's pace, Glacier will have to wait another day.  My attempt to post one lonely little picture was taking five minutes, and was only half done.  I will post Lange's mill however when I do Glacier Part II!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I believe I have said that Teton National Park used to be my number one favorite park.  I love, love it.  I really cannot understand why people flock to Yellowstone. I have been there three times now, and I feel qualified in making my statement!!  Yellowstone is good.  After all - you don't find too many geysers in the world, and I will swear the animals have shifts.  They are posted on the roads for their eight hour shift: Ben is there from 7-3, then Henry comes in for the 3-11.  (just kidding, of course, but we would see animals at the same places all the time!)

But now, OMG Glacier is the bomb!  I love it.  Even though I was disappointed that we didn't get to go all the way to Logan's Pass - we got close.  And in this case, close was almost (I'm sure) as making it.

So here is what is probably phase one of Glacier (because I don't want to load forty million pictures here.  Slow internet up here and all!

Without sounding too much like a mystery novel - it WAS a grey, very cool day  There was snow in the mountains.  And at the time I didn't realize what that meant for us.

And I love water, so the lake was my first "Ohhhhh" moment!  Please remember we mostly shoot from a moving vehicle. 

Then we came into the mountains.  So awe inspiring.

And another fascination for me are tunnels.  So here is the tunnel!  We are still down very low on the road.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I'm back.

I just erased about 6 paragraphs.  Am I upset?  You bet.  And I am sure this makes no sense at all, or perhaps you have done it.  So poohie - now to start over.

Weekends get away from me.  Saturday is a blank.  I have no clue what I did.  It surely wasn't anything earth shattering! 

Sunday because our church was out in the woods at one of our camps doing work and celebrating the church's seventh (and most probably last) anniversary at $65/person, we decided to go to Brian's church. It is a long, long way there.  But we enjoyed the experience   Brian is worship leader (he resigns this Sunday).  It was a really nice experience, and I am even more surprised because it is an inter-domination churches.  Usually I don't like those.

Sunday afternoon I spent at the machine.  I have wanted to make Katie a hair-pretty for volleyball.  My design files are in such need of work that it took me over an hour to find the file.  I wanted to do two - one for Katie and one for her "little sister" on the seventh grade team.  One went find.  Then Tempermental Tizzy decided that was enough for one day.  But I got the one to Katie at family dinner, and she really asked me to do the one for her little sister.

Monday I got the second one done.  I did get a picture.  I always forget to get a picture of my work before it leaves.  That's bad.  But the picture is on a camera at home.

That leads me to yesterday.  That was the trek here to the SSB.  I really didn't want to come.  I really still don't want to be here, but...

I think either my new glasses or just not wanting to travel made me car sick.  I have not been motion sick in 50 years!   I changed glasses and meditated to make the nausea go away, and it worked.

Today was to Fredericksburg for supplies.  So most of today is gone too!

I know - boring.

Now for more boring - pictures!

The train station - obviously.  This was one of the stops that allowed people to get off and get a breath of fresh air - or cigarette smoke.  Picture courtesy of G

The train was one of the longest I have ever seen or ridden.  The Empire Builder is one of the most popular passenger routes Amtrak has.  This is only half of the train, and the train was FULL!  Photo again courtsey of G

This old church was just a pretty picture.  Too bad it was taken at 80 mph!  Right  now it is just a place filler.  Tomorrow will be the most beautiful Glacier!

Friday, September 19, 2014


I live in a small incorporated city outside Houston.  Most folks would like to say we are a suburban subdivision, but we are a city.  We used to hold the dubious title of "speed trap."  Our police force was deligent about enforcing traffic laws.  Then the "freeway" was put in, and (as one of the previous officers who was a good friend of ours - used to say ) our police all wanted to sit out there and catch a major criminal.

We have a high school and an elementary school within our city limits.  The elementary school really doesn't present major traffic problems - just a few parents like to speed and run stop signs.  The high schoolers on the other hand...

Now we have major construction going on with the original "freeway" and on our side a toll road was build since we have lived here.  (and that's 39 years in two months)  So we have an additional problem.  Those who want to "cut through" to get from one to the other without getting snarled with all the traffic heading into Houston (which has expanded to almost engulf us - but they can't get us). 

There is a web site set up called Next Door and it is specific to neighborhoods.  Topics get started on there that go on and on and on and on.  This one in particular is speeding down one specific street.  Those folks are asking for another stop sign.  Then others are pointing out the "cut through" traffic. 

If our police would just stay within the original boundaries and ticket EVERYONE who speeds and runs stop signs, and all the other infractions, we would get out reputation back, and we all would be a lot safer. 

I notice reading that page the police have stepped up patrolling that particular street.  That's good.  When we called them because one of our neighbors saw a car load of high schoolers throw something at our car (which is usually NOT parked in the street) we called the police to let them know vandalism was happening.  The policeman replied to us that "it's shift change time, and we really can't be out to patrol."  So I say it's time they get off their a**es and get out and do their jobs.  They have a lot of catching up to do!!

Enough of that.  Now it's vacation picture time - so if you don't want to see - thanks for stopping by, and hopefully I will see you tomorrow (or next post).  Otherwise - here I go.  And it won't be many.  I am going to stretch this out!

This is the second day on the train.  This is going from New Orleans to Chicago, and this is Lake Pontchartrain.  Really pretty, and really huge!

Going over the lake and seeing these high voltage lines traversing it made me a bit uneasy.  With the storms that hit (i.e. Katrina), and being a bit of a pessimist, I thought of the disaster if they went down in the water.

This is the third leg of the trip.  Chicago to Whitefish.  We had to eat late this night because the train was so full  This is at dusk, so it is a bit difficult to see well.  This is the Super Moon over the Mississippi.
More tomorrow.  I just KNOW you simply cannot wait!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What a welcome home

As we neared Houston, the weather deteriorated.  Completely.

We thought we would be home by 5:15.  That was important because we had to pick Shadow up from the vet.  There was no way we could get Clyde, but we really wanted to get that cat.  Things were going well, but there were storm clouds on the horizon.  And not just trouble cloud, really big cumulonimbus clouds loaded with water.

As we progressed closer and closer to Houston, the rain began and it got darker and darker.  By the time we were in Huntsville (home to the prison and Sam Houston University) the rain began.  As we traveled further, the rain got harder - and harder - and harder.  We finally were completely stopped.  Seattle all over again.

I was worried about returning to town in the 4:30 to 6:30 time slot, but this was traffic to the max.

As it was we pulled in our driveway at 5:25!  Of course, I had one destination in mind.  I didn't visit the "facility" when we (finally) stopped for lunch.  When you travel with G - plan on eating a verrrrrrry late lunch. 

We got the cat.  He was thrilled to see me, and hasn't left my side since. 

So today we went to get Clyde.  Guess what!  The rains are back.  We have flooding rains that are the left over from the Pacific Hurricane.  We drove through flooding rains - again.

Marti - I would have loved to have stopped at the Caprock area.  I have never been there, and I would love to go.  But getting home at this point was number one on my list.  But the road was still boring!!!  You certainly do see all the way to the horizons with no ugly mountains or even trees to block your view.  The Coastal Plain is just as bad.  And I see that a lot.

I am reveling in the fact life will be normal around here (whatever that is) for a while.  The only thing left is to pick G up at the car rental place, and I can pretty much close the travel for this trip.  As I type this, I am downloading the pictures.  Since there are something like 400 of them, it will take me a while to delete the ones that aren't good.  And there are several I am sure.  That's what I love about digital cameras.  You can take and take pictures, and you don't have to develop the roll, pay that, and then throw pictures of poles, etc away!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Almost home

Last night away!  Today was through the (yawn) Texas panhandle.  Talk about flat.

The rental car has been great. We would get about 33 to 34 mpg in the mountains.  Today we got almost 40 on the flat land.Of course with its 4 cylinder motor we always had to hope we didn't have to go from a stop before a steep grade.

So it's beddy-bye time

Sent via my phone!

Monday, September 15, 2014


Sorry Wyoming, but part of your state is so boring.  And guess where we traveled today - yep the boring part.  I know all states must have boring parts, I know we do in Texas.  Not to be too hard on Wyoming, it also has my (now) second favorite National Park - Teton. 

The drive was only about eight hours.  We came from Sheridan to Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Tomorrow back to Texas - and the boring part.  We will be in Childress.

Our hotel here is an older one.  It doesn't have the corridors the rooms open onto, but it is still nice.  At least it doesn't have a bus full of "old farts" on tour.  I know, I don't have much room to talk - me at 69. 

They had just gotten there when we arrived last night.  For some reason - I guess because that hotel was far out of town with no eating places around, those folks were hitting the vending machines like they were going to die if they didn't.  As we were trying to get on the elevator, one old coot nearly knocked my suitcase (the one marker "heavy - 45 pounds") out of my hand while trying to knock the luggage dolly away from the poor bell boy who was trying to get off the elevator.  I told G I was about to hurt that old coot!

This morning they had already been to the breakfast bar.  It looked like a hoard of locusts had been there.  The only fruit left were the hard to peel oranges.  All the coffee cups were gone.  The poor little attendant looked so frazzled.  I noticed the little display of sweets was completely empty - only bits of sugar left. 

I shouldn't be so critical, but I know good and well they never will consume all that food. 

We had three tours on the train to Glacier.  They were quite demanding there also.  The dining car usually takes reservations for meals.  They didn't for lunches and breakfasts.  As soon as the car was filled at those meals, they began a waiting list.  They would call for ONE person from each party to come up.  One lunch when G went - the people behind him demanded a "certain" time for lunch.  They had to eat at that time.  I heard another say something about them not getting a tip because they had to wait.

We took the late dinner the night we were getting into Whitefish.  We asked the staff if they were looking forward to us de-training.  The manager said they had the mirror balls ready and it would be party time.  Those poor folks worked three times harder than usual. 

Oh - and if you are in a sleeper, you are a first class passenger, and your meals are all included in your ticket.  So that meant that you ate in the diner.  Lots of pressure on those people.  Our train had two sleepers rather than the usual one.  And if anyone in coach wanted to eat in the diner, they had to be worked in as well.

But we are homeward bound.  And I am glad.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Trains, planes and automobiles

Oops, that was the trip to Nova Scotia, which added boats as well.  In Seattle, we added boats to cars and train.  We took the Washington Ferry System to go across the Sound to Olympic National Park.  It really was a beautiful trip.  We spent all day (driving) and saw a part of the park.  I was amazed how the Pacific Northwest reminded me of Alaska.  The big lake there was Crescent Lake that was HUGE!  We both remarked that it was much like Turnagen Arm in Alaska.

Then yesterday was the "death march" day.  We traveled to Missoula, but along the way we stopped at the "Dry Falls" that used to be on the Columbia River.  That was a sight.  I will download pictures when we get home and I cull them.  I have something like 385 as of today on the camera.  That's what I love about a digital camera.  You can just shoot several and take the best ones.  I just don't want to  begin that tonight. 

While in Cooley City (and I don't think that is spelled correctly but I don't have a map) we stumbled across a quite unique restaurant for lunch.  I probably wouldn't have stopped there, but G did!  It was really quite something.  A real mom and pop place, and it was so clean they could have served my sandwich off the floor.  And such nice people!!  Only problem - they only took cash, and we had to be frugal because we were beginning to run a little low.

When we got to Missoula, we found that ALL the hotels there were booked.  Fortunately we have reserved our room six months ago!  There was a football game in town.  When we finally went to get dinner at 9 (and at IHOP ?????) the waiter said they were rabid football fans there!

Tonight we are in Sheridan, Wyoming.  My least favorite state with the exception of Jackson and Teton National Park!  Hopefully we will be out quickly.  I think tomorrow is supposed to be Denver.

Once again - I am seeing things I would like to stop and see, but I really want to get home too.  If you recall, I wanted to retrace the way we had come home from Portland/Seattle a couple of years ago.  there were things I wanted to see then too.  Oh, well.

It should be another "short" day tomorrow.  I doubt there will be anything earthshaking from the drive.  I will be glad to get out of that Corolla, but it seems to be averaging 33 mpg, so I will crunch.  I figured out this morning how to get ALL the luggage in the trunk.  But then I am a mighty packer!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Yep.  We FINALLY made it.  We took US 2 out of Whitefish headed to Seattle.  We love to suffer, you see.  We KNOW that Montana has lots and lots of road work in the summer.  We have been fools for it several times before, and this was no different.

But the new trick they played on us was to put a 25mph limit all the way through towns.  All. The. Way.  At every little wide spot in the road.  25 miles per hour.

I really don't remember what time we actually left.  I keep my watch on good old Texas time.  The car clock has Mountain time, and we were headed into Pacific time.  I think we were on the road at least 10 hours though.

THEN.  We got to Seattle.  Houston and Los Angeles move like it was 4a.m. on a Saturday morning compared with Seattle.  It was 7p.m. and the traffic was bumper to bumper, stop and go.  Of course, having a four lane freeway funnel down to a two lane one didn't help the situation, but OMG!!

I had said that I wanted to do two things here.  I wanted to go to the Pike Market.  After last night, I really didn't.  We fight enough without throwing that into the mix.  G wanted to see Underground Seattle.  Both DOWNTOWN.  Both back in the IH5!  Oh no!

But we went this morning.  When I got there I assured him that I really didn't want to stop.  And he assured me that he was fine not seeing the underground.  So we drove back out here.  Oh BTW, here is Lynnwood, Washington.  It's claim to fame is having the largest mall in Shohomish County.  So there, by golly!

We did drive over to Edmonds,Washington where we plan to take the ferry tomorrow.  We had the best lunches!  His was a mixed seafood plate - scallops, shrimp, clams, squid (you can tell I don't like it!), and fish.  I had the clams.  I love, love, love some clams.  It was a cute little bar and grill with an outside deck where we could watch the ferry - and trains.  It is right at the Amtrak depot.

I am still sleep deprived.  I still don't have land legs yet.  Between the train and the car, I still feel like the floor is going to move.  I think we have planned just a tad too much to do, but alas, (hand to forehead) I shall survive.

I should have internet from here on.  That's good and bad.  Four of the six grandchildren's schools are doing fundraisining things.  Those companies that do this have gotten smart - really smart.  You can now order on line.  Not even home and still get hit up!

OH - almost forgot.  When we got to Whitefish, G's credit card was declined.  This is the second time it has been hit.  Last time almost a year ago.  Some fool caught the number.  Tried to spend $450 at Walgreens (really??? on WHAT!!!), and (this will really get you) $15 at Walmart. 

Anyway, he called.  Got that straightened out and another card is coming.  But we are using others (mine included), and when we get home he gets to change all the payments that are on that card.

So caught up!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Greetings from Whitefish, Montana

Where a cold front has come through, and it is cold.  Houston winter cold.  And I realized that I have packed for Texas fall.  But - I will survive.  It's not that cold. 

We arrived last night after midnight.  The train was over four hours late.  That meant we missed probably the most beautiful part of that trip, but at least we are here.

This is a really beautiful city - although everything is for the tourist.  Just the way it is set up.  Tourists like pretty.

Today we were able to get through most of Glacier.  What a fantastic park.  We didn't get to complete the Highway to the Sun (I think that's right).  The pass was closed.  It has snowed.  All the trees were still holding snow.  When we got to the "weeping wall" it had formed icicles!  It was so beautiful.

We came back here to the hotel to rest a bit, and I could get on here.  Then we went to dinner.  G chose a place that was really close.  Easy in and back here, right?


It was a bowling alley/pool place.  The restaurant was in front with about 20 tables.  And one waitress who wasn't really into the job to begin with.  It took ten minutes for her to take our order.  It took 20 to get water.  We were to get salads. G asked for his, mine came with the meal.  His order was wrong.  All in all we were there for over an hour.  One couple left without ever even having their order taken.  It really was a mess. 

Oh  well.  What else did we have to do.  I do think I could find other venues that I might enjoy more!

Tomorrow - Seattle!

Sunday, September 07, 2014


This is from the underground Amtrak lounge in Chicago's Union Station.  We had a wonderful sleepless night in an expensive bedroom on board the "City of New Orleans" to get here.  We left  New Orleans yesterday about 2 pm and got here at 9am.  It was sleepless because G hates the upper berth - and there is no way I can get there.  The lower bed is about 3/4 of a regular full bed.  Not. For. Us.  In fact - we have moved to sleeping in separate rooms because we both snore.

We left Houston about 1pm on Friday and arrived in New Orleans about 10;15 pm.  We were delayed by freight - again.  That was coach, but it was a good trip.

Finally I have found free internet. 

So far, so good.  It is now almost 10am and we leave about 1:30pm.  Chicago's lounge is really great.  I remember it from before.  I just wish they had not sprayed a strawberry bubblegum air freshner though.  It is a smell I hate.

New Orleans has a little room as a lounge.  But it was small.  And COLD.  But it was more comfortable than the molded plastic chairs in the lobby. 

All in all, Amtrak has treated us royally.  Good trip so far (but I wish I were home).

When we left Clyde, I warned them he is a great escape artist.  He has an indoor/outdoor run.  And there is a gate there,  Didn't help my confidence at all. 

We didn't leave Shadow there because the last time he was there, he turned into  a wild cat.  Really a wild cat!  So we took him to the vet because we thought it would be far from the dogs.  I don't think that is the problem.   Poor attendant.  He became a wild cat again.  He was trying to get her.  I don't think they will be able to do his physical while he is in their care.

So we leave for Whitefish, Montana.  We will arrive there sometime in the wee hours of tomorrow or Tuesday - depends on how much freight traffic we encounter.  It SHOULD be late tomorrow night, but we have gotten many emails about  four hour delays.  But we will be in a family bedroom.  I think that means no having to take an upper berth.  We should really be able to spread out.

After we are in Whitefish - we will be through with the trains, and we will be going by car.  Kinda looking forward to that.   Not sure G is though!  I hope Glacier is open when we get there.  We only have one day, and I want to see as much as possible

So until the next free connection...

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


G has been reading the constitution of our church.  Talk about a mess.  It seem to contradict itself in many places, and we are not following it. 

Every time G has a question, he has to direct it to the Vice-President - who in turn goes to the pastor.  Then she sends an email back.  I really believe what he has done is to take the form of the ELCA constitutions and the Missouri Synod constitutions and make a bastardized version for our church.

When we went to Trivia night, he was so concerned because I had posted a thing on Facebook about how sad it is to be caught in a grudge war, and apparently we were not really friends after all.  That post was about our neighbor at the SSB and his stupid double roads.  I guess he thought it was about G and the church.  Then Sunday he was just so sickeningly sweet.  Of course when G and the VP were meeting- he was outside the building.

Today Krissi (who is treasurer) went to the church to get the deposit ready.   The pastor sat in his car for 30 minutes after getting there.  He SAID he was on a phone call.  Sure.

So that drama continues.  I am ready to leave.  What he has done, and then bent it so he is in control although through the constitution he isn't suppposed to be, has made me really sick of him.  I have so many friends there, but you know, it isn't worth the aggravation.  We go back to the old church.  There are many new people there - it is growing by leaps and bounds -  and I will make new friends there.  I will become active there. 

In other happenings.  Today was the retinal doc. He found a small leakage in the left eye, but wasn't too concerned.  He took other pictures with the dye (so my urine in fluorescent yellow today and tomorrow).  But it's still "come back in a month,"  but at least I have vision.

I have long said how ironic this is.  When I taught, I stressed to the kids that when I told them to wear goggles they were to do it without exception.  I told them they only had a single set of eyeballs.  So look who is going blind.  Glaucoma AND macular degeneration.  How lucky can one person get??

Still getting ready to pack.  I hate the fact we are leaving Clyde for two weeks.  I know that's why G really didn't want another dog - even if he was the one to move on adopting him.  But he will get over it.

Monday, September 01, 2014

"On the road again ..."

And so, another count-down begins.  T minus 3 days.  And then we will board the train on Friday headed for New Orleans, then Chicago, and then on to Whitefish. 

Once again, the things I wanted to do are being stomped on.  Glacier has been on my bucket list for years.  How long there???  One day. 

And in reality, that may be fine.  I know that they are closing the park, and I think there has already been snowfall (not sure there).  But durn, that was why I wanted to take this trip to begin with.

Then I had suggested driving home.  When we went to Seattle last, our train trip home was done away with because of flooding in the north, and the passenger train we would have taken other than that had an 18 wheeler smash into it in Arizona (???) which caught fire, killed the driver and several on the train were seriously hurt, wrecked several rail cars, and damaged the track.  So we rented a car and drove back so fast!!

I thought at the time there were several places I would have liked to have stopped had we had time to explore.  Are we taking that route?  You know the answer to that.  NO!  We are going the way HE wants to see things. 

So am I happy about this trip.  In a simple, single word NO.  But I am not going to argue.  I am sick of arguing.  Every time I don't agree these days, I just shut up.  Makes like a little more pleasant.

Let me apologize here.  I have been in such a foul mood lately.  This is where I can vent.  I really am sorry about being such a downer.

And before I forget. Our Pastor didn't meet with G.  The little chicken had the Vice-president of the "Council of Elders" do that.  She gave G a copy of the constitution.  I am pretty sure that the congregation has not seen this whole thing.  It is like 12 pages long, and is full of double speak.  Once again with the "smoke and mirrors" that seem to be the way the church works. 

G has been reading it and making notes in the margins.  What it says and the way we are working in reality are not the same.  Looks like we will be going back to the old church.  I hate to leave the many, many friends I have at this present one.  It's like the old church used to be before it got so big.  There is only one family here that I really cannot stand (here I go again being negative).  But I will take up the remaining old friendships at the old church, get really involved and make new ones.

Have a great one - and don't let me drag you down with my negativity. Hopefully that will go away soon.