Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Home Again

Our girls weekend was a wonderful one. We had such a great time. We arrived back home Saturday evening around 8:30 or so. We had driven all the way from about 30 miles north of the Texas/Oklahoma border. I drove the entire distance because I love to drive. My niece doesn’t enjoy driving at all and my sister didn’t care one way or the other. She also has a brand new car and I really enjoyed driving it. I think I know what kind of car I want to get next time we change. That will probably be a long, long time in the future, if ever! Would you believe the very first time I ever drove it, was during rush hour traffic through Dallas? I can’t believe she trusted me to do that! Then that night we drove back north again through Fort Worth rush-hour traffic, again with me at the wheel. We’re still here so I must’ve done all right! It was a long day and the last 2 1/2 or so hours were the longest. We ran into quite a strong rainstorm between Kansas City and Omaha.  All‘s well that ends well though, and we had an absolutely lovely time. Our stop that was the furthest south was in Waco, Texas. Home to the Magnolia Silos. It was almost too much to take in. I took this first photo as we drove by. That is the bakery on the corner. We had the best cupcakes from there. We bought them and took them back to our hotel and had them for a snack before bed. Yum!!!

Before we left Waco we had a late lunch at the Magnolia table restaurant. It is an absolutely beautiful building and the lunch was very good too. Actually, we all had breakfast for lunch.

The decor is stunning. The floor tile work is very intricate. I can only imagine the hours it took to lay that floor.

Another view.
This was the floor just inside of the main door. Amazing craftsmanship!

This old and no longer used Lutheran church was moved from the other side of Waco just in the past year. It was taken apart, piece by piece, and then reassembled on this site. The attention to detail is just stunning.

The inside. Look at those gorgeous chandeliers. So beautiful in their simplicity.

And the windows! Can you believe that they all survived the move unbroken?

Here is my sister Melanie with me when we very first arrived at the Silos.

And a closer photo along with my niece Chaela. We had such a wonderful time together.

Inside “Ferney’s”. This is Joanna’s sisters shop. Such beautiful plants. They all have name tags on them and have just the cutest names, like Jimmy and Lucy or Bob! Somehow, all the names fit the plants perfectly.

Since Melanie and Chaela were here a few years ago, they have added these shops alongside of the green. There are three on each side and they are all specialty shops. There’s a writers store and a lotion/perfume shop among several others.

There are several different food trucks around the site also. They were very busy at lunchtime. I didn’t even notice the security guards when I took the photo. Isn’t it a shame that we have to have people protecting us like this even at fun venues?

There is also a small baseball diamond on the site. There are balls, bats and gloves available for anybody to go in and pitch, if you want to hit a few balls. The concession stand that you see in the rear provides food from Magnolia Table to visitors. There are spots all over with entertainment for children. Lots of green space for them to run and bins of balls and other play things all around. It is truly a family gathering place.

I could go on and on with photos of our weekend. We were only gone four days but we packed a lot into them including driving to and from Texas! We laughed so much and had such a wonderful time. We hope to make it an annual event going somewhere with mothers and daughters. Hopefully next time Mandy will be able to join us.

I’m sorry it has taken me several days to get this last group of pictures out, but our days have been jampacked for about the last two weeks. On Monday we moved Mom into an independent living apartment. Dennis and I did a lot of work on the move before I left, and while I was gone family members jumped in and helped Dennis move her furniture on Saturday. I spent the day at the apartment on Sunday with Mandy unpacking everything and making the bed so it would be already for her. Monday I drove her to her apartment for the first time. We have spent a lot of time with her there since eating at least one meal a day with her in the dining room. It is a beautiful place and I would move there in a heartbeat! The food is very, very good. Their chef is from a local country club. Now we have begun the hard work of going through 47 years of accumulation. Dennis took 3 full pick up truck loads to the thrift store just yesterday while I was cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. The grandkids have gotten what they want and the rest is going. I have lots of furniture on Facebook marketplace and we hope to get the house on the market in the next week or so before it slows down for the winter.

It’s a huge change for her but I just hung up the phone from talking to her this morning and she said her second night was much better and she felt much more at home. Dennis and I bought her a new comforter set because she’s had the other one for 40+ years. She said she feels like a princess in her bed! I think it does help having her familiar things around her and we tried to set the apartment up as much like the house was as possible. She seemed very happy and content this morning. It is very near Mandy‘s house so quite a ways from us but we will be going out every day for a while until we know if she’s settled in. 

Her sister-in-law, Aunt Joyce has lived there for 14 months and absolutely loves it. In fact she says she’s angry at herself for refusing to move in earlier. She says she missed out on so much by staying at home alone.  Mom has eaten all of her meals with Aunt Joyce in the dining room since she arrived. Aunt Joyce is a firecracker! She is involved in practically every activity that goes on. If anybody can get mom more active, she can.

In some ways this will make our life easier with not having the upkeep of two houses and worrying about her when we travel, but in other ways it is complicated our lives even further. Number one is the ridiculous expense of these places and the other is the distance from our home. It was very easy just to run next-door and check on her rather than driving across town, but we weren’t going to move her just anywhere. It had to be a nice place in a safe area. Her balcony overlooks a little park like area behind the building and just yesterday she saw two deer in that park area. That was enough to convince her that she loves it! She does love watching deer!

I’ll be back soon. Take care and I’m sorry for the long post today.

Blessings and love,
Betsy



Thursday, August 25, 2022

Day One

We started out bright and early yesterday when Melanie and Chaela picked me up. Off we went heading south through Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Our first stop was at The Precious Moments Museum in Carthage, Missouri. It is amazing! It is all painted by one man, Sam Butcher, who was subsequently asked to make his paintings into sculptures. We know them as the Precious Moments figurines that are the MOST collected item in the world. Here are a few photos I took which do not even begin to do it justice.

Melanie and my niece Chaela.



The ceiling of the chapel. Mr. Butcher lay on his back for hundreds of hours while painting the ceiling.

The main painting in the chapel depicting the welcome into Heaven.

Please click to enlarge the photo so you can read it.



The last photo is Sam Butchers headstone that he designed. When he passes, it will be engraved with the correct dates. You can see his home from this spot.

We stayed last night in Bartlesville, OK at the Hilton where my nephew, Chaela’s husband Tim, arranged a great room for us.

This morning we were up bright and early to drive the 20 or so miles to Pawhuska, Oklahoma where we visited the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond’s Mercantile and other stores. We had breakfast at the Mercantile and it was amazing!

I ordered Grandma Ella’s pancakes with sea salt caramel syrup and cinnamon butter. Oh my! Oh my! Also homemade sausage, bacon and eggs arrived with the pancakes. I haven’t had a breakfast as good as that for a long time. A huge quart glass of ice tea was just 25 cents.

The Merc.

Parked outside the door was a shiny red farm truck from the Drummond ranch.

Inside was full of wonderful kitchen and other home items as well as Ree’s signature flowy clothing styles. 

Upstairs was a bakery and coffee shop with lots of room to sit and chat. We were there very early so it wasn’t very busy yet.

Even the bathroom was decorated nicely.

This was the boardinghouse next door although the reflection in the glass makes it hard to read.

After wandering around for several hours we jumped back into the car and headed to Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. We spent a few hours wandering around IKEA and finding treasures there.

Tim once again found us another Hilton tonight, just four miles away from IKEA. This time he reserved us a suite with a living room, bedroom and bath. Two TV’s and a kitchenette. We each have a bed! That boy is a keeper! Such a sweetie.
Tomorrow will be more adventures and I’ve been voted to be the one driving through Ft. Worth! I’ll let you know how it goes. 😍

Dennis is holding down the fort at home. Mom had a medical procedure today that kept them at the hospital most of the day. Please keep her, (and us), in your prayers.

Blessings and love,
Betsy


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Road Trip!

I’m leaving tomorrow on a girls road trip with my sister Melanie and her daughter, my niece Chaela. Mandy was supposed to go but she has to work. We’re going to miss her on what was supposed to be a mother/daughter trip.  I won’t have my computer with me, so I won’t be able to comment again, but this is just a short trip. We’ll be back on Sunday. After that I have no trips planned at all.

Can you guess where the three of us may be going?

Here’s a hint!

Oklahoma is one place we’re planning to stop. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. And boy! Do I need a vacation after this week. I’ve been in four different doctors offices in the past two days with Mom. That’s another story that I’ll tell you all about soon. 

I have my suitcase packed and a bag of snacks and my sock knitting ready to go.  See you soon.

Blessings and hugs,
Betsy


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Home!

We’re home!  We have actually been back since late Sunday afternoon, but life has been a whirlwind since we returned. We weren’t supposed to be home until Monday night and we had paid for our campsite through then, but we had some issues involving Mom and decided it would be easier just to come home a day early. Taking care of an elderly parent is certainly not easy is it?  She does not like us to be gone at all. We were dealing with problems the entire time we were traveling. And it seems that sometimes crisis’s are invented to bring us back. Other things are very real and out of her control.

But we are back now. At least Dennis is. I don’t remember if I told you, but my sister, niece and I are heading to Texas next week. Dennis will be home to take care of his mom and we’re heading south on Wednesday! I sure hope it’s a bit cooler by then. We’re planning to go to the Precious Moments Museum in Missouri, Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile in Oklahoma and The Silos in Waco,Texas. We also hope to stop at IKEA along the way. It’s been five years since I was at IKEA as we don’t have one close by either Spokane or Omaha. The nearest one is in Kansas City. This girls trip is only for five days but I’m really looking forward to the time with Melanie and Chaela. Mandy was supposed to come along, but she doesn’t have any more PTO from work. That was a big disappointment.

I did manage to finish up a third baby blanket while on our trip. Since coming home I’ve made one chemo hat and started another. I’ll show you pictures next time. This post will have the last of our vacation photos in it. I’m hoping to be able to comment on your blogs tonight. I am so sorry I haven’t done it yet. I HAVE been reading them! Life has just caught up with us since we got home. We’re ready to go again! This afternoon I need to take Mom to her cardiologist appointment. Yesterday was spent shopping for groceries and generally running errands. Monday was laundry. And more laundry and unpacking. All while dealing with the things happening with Mom.

So here we go with the end of our trip west. Below you will see Crazyhorse. We didn’t go to any of these sites up close and personal because we’ve been there so many times before. This photo and the one of Rushmore were taken from the highway. Crazyhorse doesn’t seem to have changed much in the last 25 years!
Here is Rushmore from the highway that passes by. We were in the Black Hills during the Sturgis motorcycle rally. There were so many motorcycles in the parking lot, we decided that we didn’t need to try to compete with them. We are hoping to take Piper back there next year since she had Covid and didn’t get to go this year. The emotions that you feel when gazing on these four faces is undescribable. It makes you feel patriotic from deep down inside.
This is one of the lodges in Custer State Park. The name slips my mind right now but I think it’s the Grace Coolidge Lodge. I’m probably wrong. Theodore Roosevelt used to visit Custer State Park. He thought it was one of the most beautiful places on earth and so do I.

Gorgeous vistas where you could see for miles.

The next two photos are the pigtail bridges on iron Mountain Road in Custer State Park. These bridges are so fun to drive on. They are made of wood and are in curly cues.

Of course, the photos don’t do them justice.

We stayed at Ft. Welikit, (pronounced fort we like it), both on our way to Spokane and then for three nights on our way home. It’s about a mile outside of Custer City and a beautifully kept campground. Very quiet and well-maintained. They have teepees, cabins, and little places that are like barrels on their sides with beds inside. I couldn’t get a picture of one because there were always people around them.

And here’s our site. We enjoyed our stay there very, very much


The campground looks pretty empty because a lot of the motorcycles started leaving on Saturday morning. The photo below is just a teeny, tiny fraction of the bikes that were there. We were told that there were over 700,000 motorcycles around the Black Hills this past week! All the way home on the interstate Sunday across I-90 in South Dakota, it was solid motorcycles or trucks carrying trailers with motorcycles in them. It was like a continuation of the Sturgis rally as we drove home! We have to say that we had some great conversations with the mostly men who were riding this week. Everyone of them was polite and friendly to a T. We couldn’t have asked for a better time to be there. And oh my goodness, there were some beautiful Harleys! We are sorely tempted to look at one for Dennis! We did have a motorcycle when we were first married, but got rid of it shortly after Mandy was born. A motorcycle is not very practical with the baby!

When we were in Spokane we went to a place called The Downriver Grill that is famous for its Gorgonzola fries. I forgot to show you a photo of them in that post. We went there for lunch with Larry, Nita and Lori. These fries are delicious!

And guess who started school yesterday? Fourth grade! How in the world did that happen? She has a teacher who is brand new to teaching this year. If yesterday is any indication, it’s going to be a wonderful year for Miss Piper.

Our sweet daughter-in-law and Baby J. flew from London to Japan yesterday to join Alex. Such a long trip for our sweet DIL with a little baby. To top it all off Baby J had her immunizations the day before. They had planned it so she would have them a couple of weeks before the flight, but her appointment kept getting postponed by the NHS for some reason. Mama had a fussy baby for at least the first part of the flight. She sent us lots of photos at the airport before and then one this morning after they landed. We have been so blessed with our sweet daughter-in-law. We love her so much and she loves us right back. She’s brilliant and she still likes me! πŸ’œ I find that amazing. And I’m being perfectly honest here. I do find it amazing. 

Well I think I have carried on long enough with this post. I hope to be back to commenting on blogs tonight, now that I have my laptop back. Thank you all for being so patient with me over the last several weeks. I have truly been trying to keep up with all of you by reading your posts. It looks as though summer is beginning to wind down for many of us. Much of my garden ripening was harvested while we were gone. But I was able to pick a zucchini, three cucumbers and a handful of cherry tomatoes this morning. Yum! 

Take care and I’ll be back soon. May God be with each and everyone of you.

Blessings and hugs,
Betsy 


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Big Timber!

Hello to you all! Here’s another update for everyone, my sweet friends. I’m frustrated at not being able to comment on your posts but glad to read that most of you are doing well and enjoying the fruits of your gardens. I’m so sorry to hear that Sam has been in the hospital, but she is now home and sounds like she is doing much better. Also Connie, (Far Side) has also been unwell. Several have had Covid, but others are enjoying the “dog days” of August. I’m thinking of you all and keeping you in my prayers.

On Saturday we spent the day with our best friends, Neal and Jenny. We picked up Panda Express and went to Manito Gardens in Spokane for a picnic lunch. The first few photos are of the Duncan Garden there. Lots of people were around so it was a bit hard to get photos, but you get the idea of how gorgeous this park is. 

A kind stranger took a photo of the four of us. It was SO hot. I think it was 99F that day but we still enjoyed ourselves.

Giving Zoey a much needed drink out of her collapsible bowl while we rested in the shade.

They have a gorgeous conservatory there too. This was just one plant out of dozens of orchids.

Here’s a bit better photo of the Duncan Garden.

There is a wildflower section too.
One of the thousands of plants in the conservatory.

There is also a huge rose garden, but this post is too photo laden as it is. After the park, we went back to Neal and Jenny’s house where we barbecued hamburgers and had a summer feast with potato salad, watermelon and coconut cream pie. It was wonderful to have the entire day to spend with them.

Zoey and Izzy hit it off together right away and were inseparable. Izzy is just two weeks older than Zoey and is the reason we have our girl. We stayed with Paul and Lori when we visited Spokane last August and they had just gotten Izzy two days earlier. To say I had “puppy fever” would be a definite understatement. 😍 We had Zoey by the next weekend! Izzy was on our camper steps first thing every morning or else Zoey was peering in their patio doors. πŸ˜‚ She was a regular peeping Zoey! If we went anywhere, they stayed together in the house or they cried without each other. (That only happened once and then we accepted the inevitable.)  Lori says Izzy is missing Zoey terribly and that Zoey taught her how to play. She was an only puppy in the litter so has never had a playmate. Both weigh about 10 lbs and are the same height.

I did a little clearance yarn shopping at my “old” Michaels. Enough yarn for three baby blankets, three pair of socks and a shawl for $38.87. Regular price was about $96.00. I also found that glass ball that is covered with Q’s for $2.24, regularly $9.99. The cashier even remembered me! 
Since we left home I have crocheted 2 baby blankets and started another one. All are using the “Which Way Filet” pattern.  I folded the two completed blankets into triangles for the photo. The WIP is laying on top. They are laying on the bed in the trailer.

I also made three more nine-patch squares. This gives me thirty in total. I stopped there until I get home and lay them out to see if more are needed. They are about 12 inches square including the cream border.

We have been in Big Timber, Montana for the past two nights. Early tomorrow morning we will leave for Custer, South Dakota for a few days. We hadn’t checked before we made reservations, but apparently we’ll be there during the big Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. There are literally thousands of bikers there during this week every year. We should have remembered that. We may not stay our entire reservation time. We talked to a few bikers here at the campground last night that were heading home early. They were five older men who said it was just too wild for them. Too much “drinking and riding”. They said it was a once in a lifetime experience, being with so many other bikers in one place, but that the partying just wasn’t their thing. It isn’t ours either, so it may be a short visit!

This is our campsite in Big Timber. It’s been in the 90’s everyday, but cools off beautifully into the 50’s at night. There is a pool, laundromat and nice store here and the view can’t be beat.

Need I say more? There is also a small creek that runs though the campground behind our trailer.

Next time I post we should be home. We have sweet angels watching over Mom and our house while we’re gone. We can’t express our thanks enough to them for giving us this much needed break to visit with our Spokane family.
Take care everyone.

Blessings and love,
Betsy