Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas





from College Station, Texas where we are celebrating with family and friends.

We have had a wonderful year, partly because of many of you. Five months of the past year we traveled throughout the country visiting our national treasures, reconnecting with friends from our earlier years, getting in touch with cousins and making memories with family and new friends.

One of our favorite highlights was watching our oldest granddaughter, Alison, walk across the stage to receive her high school diploma. (Can we mention “with honors?”)



She is thriving as a college freshman at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and finds it to be much more rewarding than high school. Her little sister, Camille, is enjoying her junior year in high school and continues to dance with the Northwest Florida Ballet Company. Holly is contemplating on what to do with “the rest of her life” as her nest empties.

The other favorite highlight of the year was celebrating the 90th birthday of Captain’s mom with a trip to the Dakotas and Montana. Loved the chance to visit with cousin Chuck, his wife Terri and daughter Lindsey. We are so fortunate that she continues to be in good health, of sound mind and have that wonderful sense of humor.



We have already shared our travel adventures with you so we will spare you the repetition. As much as we are enjoying our travel adventures, we love coming home to our hometown friends and neighbors (who happen to be the best of the best.)

We are pleased to share with you that three J. Darin Loftis Memorial Scholarships were awarded to Calloway County High School Seniors in the spring. That brings a total of nine scholarship awards in memory of ABN’s son since 2014

We begin the New Year with hopes and plans for more travel and making more memories by connecting with friends and family. Our winter plan is for Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

Our wish for you is that you will experience the Christmas spirit of hope, love, peace and joy. As we travel throughout the country we give thanks to God for our health, our opportunities and most of all for you who have enriched our lives profoundly.


One more thing;

You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better be good
And we’ll tell you why.

The Wanderer may pull into your drive at any time

(you wouldn’t want us to catch you in an ugly mood, would you?)

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

In a bit of fog

.....this past week at Navarre Beach, Florida.


But that didn’t keep us from getting having another rewarding visit with our granddaughters and daughter-in-law (actually Holly was a bit under the weather and kept her distance so we wouldn’t catch her bug.) Fortunately she was on the road to recovery the last couple of days we were there.

Of course ABN had to get a little “kitchen time” with the girls. It used to be Grandma would help the girls make cookies but both girls are quite proficient in the kitchen, Grandma just sat, watched and marveled at their culinary skills.

Often we have one or more friends join us. 


This morning we bid them good-bye,



pointed The Wanderer to the west, and headed toward Texas. 

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Texas for Christmas!

Gifts wrapped and loaded


Studio packed


A little color and bling added



One college girl on board and we are off to Texas.



                                                                                                                       

But first we must drop off the college girl (that would be our granddaughter, Alison) at her home in Florida.                                                                                                                                      

 (Yes, we were over the top excited she chose to spend her first few days of break with us!)



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

No,



Thank goodness!

Every fall since retirement we have headed to Captain’s hometown for football season. While that has not worked out as well as we hoped, the visits exceed our expectations in more important ways.

We actually enjoy our family! Whether it is doing chores, playing cards/dominoes, rooting for the Aggies


or attending Our Saviors Lutheran Church, we have fun and laugh a lot (okay, maybe we don’t laugh a lot at church, but we cherish sitting with family in the church where Captain grew up and Pastor Pat usually says something funny.) Often we take little road trips as we did this time to Clifton, TX. Why Clifton? So Mom can visit with her longtime and best friend, Alice, who at age 96, still has a keen sense of humor.



Doing the chores around the home place, well that didn’t exactly exceed expectations but we didn’t get into much poison ivy or too many fire ant bites.(And Mom kept us supplied with her homemade cookies, a variety of Blue Bell ice cream and the candy dishes were always full!)

It has been said, “One cannot go home again;” Why not? Of course it isn’t exactly the same as the school years but it is still a heck of a lot of fun! Many of Captain’s high school friends never left College Station and several have returned in retirement. Like their high school days, they find excuses to get together and hang-out (to watch the sunset from the top of Rudder Tower, for “book club,” breakfast with the guys at Fuzzy's Tacos, or to bid us farewell even though we will be back in about 6 weeks.) 




Like high school, they bring their sweethearts. It isn’t just high school friends, but friends of friends are also welcomed.



It seems like a lot of roads lead to College Station. Remember our new friends, Barbara and Allen, whom we met last summer in East Glacier (Allen is an Aggie.They have grandchildren attending Texas A &M and were in town for the Mississippi State game. We met up with them at Rudder Tower.



Loved catching up with former Paducah friends, Steve and Karen at Uncorked.



 And there is the university--once an Aggie, always an Aggie. Although not an Aggie, ABN has been drinking the maroon kool aid. Her exploration walks frequently lead her to the campus and often to the Starks Art Gallery. (Currently there is an awesome Women Painting Women exhibit) and she never gets tired of the “Howdy” as she meets students. We may be a bit biased but we think the students at A&M are some of our country’s finest. Mom loves having them for neighbors (of course the young men bringing her homemade cookies helps.) And it is just plain courtesy to hand out notes to neighbors with their phone numbers when hosting parties in case they are too loud, their guests blocks driveways or trash/bottles end up in the neighbors’ yard. Sometimes Mom doesn’t understand their antics


But, having raised two boys, she understands there is not always a reason for their actions.

With a bit of regret, the family has decided to not renew their season football tickets. The fact that the Aggies have been dismal the past few years is not the reason (but it did make the decision easier.) They certainly aren’t worth $100-$175 per ticket. Mom no longer goes to the games when the Texas temperatures are stifling or it is raining, Anna has a new interest that presents a conflict and there are so many beautiful places we want to visit in the fall (think Utah and New England.) Rex will continue to work the chains (he’s the one on the sideline carrying a red clipboard.) We will miss seeing The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, the fly-overs, the honoring of Aggie’s serving in the military as well as the veterans, and all the other traditions; of course we will be Standing with the 12th Man, wearing maroon wherever we are on game day.

In honor of our Veterans, we are sharing a clip of the stunning display at the Veteran’s Park.

BTW, we are now at home, getting ready for our next trip.


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Monday, October 16, 2017

Chores are completed....




Someone is styling....




Let the fun and adventures begin!


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Monday, October 2, 2017

Texas, we are on our way!

We were home long enough to clean the garden (remember this photo of the garden when we returned from our 3-month western adventure in August?)


Seven weeks and 25 lawn bags of weeds later, ABN has it about as weed free as it ever gets. Hopefully not too many caterpillars were destroyed!


While ABN was pulling weeds, Captain spread 18 tons of gravel, fertilized the lawn, and did maintenance and updates on The Wanderer as well as other sundry things.

We were home to host some Texas friends for The Total Solar Eclipse, 


friends from South Carolina for the Fall Quilt Show


as well as catch up with friends on our porch (think Tipsy Tuesday.)

After months of anticipation for ABN, this past weekend we met up and reconnected with her high school friends at their  50th class reunion. Hosted by classmate Dale Turner and his wife Georgia on their farm near Van Buren, Indiana, it exceeded her expectations. As expected, physical appearances and personalities have matured but the bonds formed growing up together are still there.



While in Indiana, we visited a bit with ABN’s oldest sister Pauline as well as her nephew, Bill and wife, Kim. Because of her advanced dementia, we are not sure Pauline recognized us.

The Wanderer is resting in storage as we pack the suburban and head to Aggieland for football season. Except for that dreadful first game against UCLA and the whipping we expect from Alabama next Saturday, they are looking better than we expected (Did we just jinx the season?)

Gig’em!





Friday, August 11, 2017

Home!


Ninety days, 18 states, 9,785 miles, 4 national parks, one presidential library, 2 farm stays, 2 casino parks, 11 Walmart parking lots, 2 county fairgrounds; through desserts, mountains, forests, prairies and cities, our epic 2017 western adventure has come to an end. The Wanderer is parked in the drive waiting to be emptied and cleaned before going to storage. Roger (aka the pick-up) is in great need of a bath. We won’t talk about what needs to be done in the garden.



It's worse than we imagined!



 As for ABN and Captain, well we are headed to Dry Ground to see if we can catch up with some friends. 



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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Fun on Dick and Janie’s little farm

in northern New Mexico.


Janie is Captain’s cousin. She and her husband, Dick, have created a most wonderful home outside the small town of Dixon. Their home is built in the traditional New Mexico style with thick (like 12-18 inch) adobe walls.

Nods to their extensive international travels and glimpses of Janie’s beautiful oil paintings can be seen throughout.

Their little farm provides fresh vegetables from the garden as well as lamb, turkey and chickens.

An accomplished culinarian, Janie delighted us with outstanding authentic New Mexico cuisine and the best mustard crusted roast lamb that we have ever tasted (all fresh with no preservatives.)  

Located on the farm is Vivac Winery, owned and operated by their sons.
Jesse explains the process to Captain. Notice the notebook on the bench, it is contains the notes about their various wines and processes since the beginning of Vivac in 1998.. 
Loving California wine and most recently experiencing the delicious wines of Washington and Oregon we were a bit skeptical about New Mexico wine. Were we surprised! Chris and Jesse have successfully created some spectacular wines. Our palates favored their MALBEC and 2014 AGLIANICO (an Italian varietal new to us.) Their award winning GR√úNER VELTLINER, a crisp white, is one of their most popular and is delightful to sip on a warm day on the patio.

Vivac Tasting Room is located at the junction of Hwy. 68 and 75. Weekends will find Dick playing with his band or backing up another band.
That's Dick in the colorful shirt.

Leaving The Wanderer parked on the farm, we took Roger

for a day trip to Santa Fe mostly to visit the Georgia O’Keefe Art Museum; a truly fascinating artist and individual.
Georgia O'Keefe Art Museum




With Dick and Janie we took in the Home and Garden Show in Taos which proved to be an excellent way to explore the adobe architecture and life styles of Taos. Of course, ABN’s favorite was the Rosarita Compound of older casitas (little houses) tastefully furnished with finds from yard sales and consignment shops. The best parts were the lovely courtyards.





















Cousin Janie and Captain

Located not far from Taos is an Earthship Compound.



Constructed with earth packed tires and recycled materials, these dwellings are independent of the grid. Power is generated by wind and solar. Water is collected from rain and snow; grey water is used to flush the toilets. Treated black water is used to irrigate plants in the gardens and greenhouses.

Apparently Earthship Communities can be found throughout the US and other countries of the world. Truly an interesting concept.

With a consistent, year-round temperature of 58°, this concept would make a pretty neat wine cellar, hmm….we’ll have to think about that. 




And then there is the Rio Grande passing through the area.

About 800 feet down is the river.

It just happened that our good friends, Kathy and Jesse from North Carolina were also in Taos and we were able to get together and catch up.

Do you notice a bit of glow on their faces? They are in Taos to welcome a brand new grandson.

Inspired with wholesome food, art, a lifestyle of adventure over acquisitions, ideas for reclaiming and re-purposing, we leave New Mexico with memories for a lifetime, a half case of Vivac wine and Janie’s instructions for making enchilada sauce. 

After a quick stop in Tulsa to visit Captain’s Aunt Vivian and Uncle Keith
in their beautiful retirement center; 


and with Cousin Kathy and husband Mark,



we continue to make our way toward home. 

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