September 10, 2011

The Bicycle

The Bicycle














Kathleen, here

This poem is dedicated to moms and dads

who lost a son or daughter on a terrible day

in our history. After seeing an interview of

a group of mothers who all lost a son that day,

I mourned with them and this poem

began to gather in my mind.

May God bless them

The Bicycle

What is the best gift for a boy

Or maybe a young man?


A cherished red bike that will

Take him over miles of land.


We bought him that gift

Our hearts bursting with pride.


We watched that bike

Take our boy over a long joyous ride.


He rode to school;

He rode to his job.


On weekends he rode hard;

His bike taking him over that far knob.


Our boy grew up

Then he moved faraway.


We waved good bye and

Whispered “God Speed.” as we prayed.


His new job was high-up.

He was proud and prepared.


His bike stayed safe

Behind the garage door it stared.


Our boy’s bike waits;

I polish away the dust.


I am thankful it will never know

A tear would create rust.


Our boy, you see

Left us that day.


We watched on the news

We were far far away.


A long journey we then took

We searched with the Finest.


We left our boy there,

God knows he is at rest.


When we returned home

I went straight to our boy’s bike.


I cried and I cried

My tears anointing his Last Rite.


Our boy’s pride and his joy

Will always stay there.


In a corner in the garage

A bike waits for a boy so fair.


You see, on a day long ago

A day dark, full of evil.


Two buildings reached high, then

The whole world heard them tremble.


They fell-

One, then the other.


We watched in horror

Heard screams from son’s mothers.


Our boy, in that horrible moment

I know cried for God’s grace and His love.


One day, only God knows when

I will watch His Son come from above.


All mothers will cry with cheers of gladness

When sons and daughters they will see.


And I will find a shiny red bike

On it, our boy peddling towards his dad and me.


Copyright Kathleen M. Brosius

September 11, 2011

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March 04, 2010

Oh, The Drama

Kathleen here,


     With the Acadamy Awards coming up on Sunday, I thought I would publish the following story that I wrote a few weeks ago. The assignment for the writing class was to follow a character around for a while and write about that person. I chose the following. I had seen the move many many years ago and wrote what I remembered. She was the best.
























Oh, The Drama

A Short story reflecting the film “All About Eve”


She paused, knowing that all eyes were on her. Wisps of smoke escaped her crimson lips, and she turned. The polished banister gleamed as her delicate hand reached to steady herself. She wore a satin gown, the color of Ireland. Soft folds of the shimmering fabric fell away revealing ivory shoulders. A bouquet of diamonds accented her bodice. Her slender neck tensed as she tossed her chestnut hair away from her eyes. Those eyes. Piercing, judging, teasing. She ever so slightly dipped her chin as she scanned the crowded room. Sure that her beating heart could be heard, she ascended a step and then another. Trembling lips parted, she again turned to face her audience. A brilliant smile revealed perfect teeth as she recognized loyal fans.

Across the room, a girl stood. Young, innocent, beautiful. Margo knew her. Green eyes met blue. The smile became a faint scowl. The girl, ignoring the gesture, bowed lightly. Between exquisitely groomed fingers, Margo raised her smoldering cigarette to her lips and with a long lingering drag, her body relaxed. Her eyes continued to focus on the girl.

This beauty, queen of drama, was a star. Loved by millions. The thrill of opening night was near. Her beloved Bill watched her. He adored this woman, always in awe at her theatrics, on stage and off.

Bill knew the girl. He knew her as a scared young starlet. He was ignorant to the evil plans she had laid. Margo, loved by millions; envied by one. The emerald gown rustled, as the leading lady of broad way gathered her skirts. As she tipped her head to sip her martini, her lashes flashed open, revealing deep luminous eyes. She gave Bill a long loving look, raised her head high and announced, “Fasten your seat belts, its going to be a bumpy night.” Up the stairs, Margo continued, pushing the cigarette into a potted plant on the way. By the last step, the martini glass was empty. She eyed the crowd, scowling as the “girl” breezed to Bill’s side. Innocently Bill offered a drink. Tears in her eyes, Margo retreated to her room. Her housekeeper, Birdie, was at her side. “Margo honey, let me fluff your hair. Your guests are waiting.”

“Birdie, no. Please leave. I will not take their stares and whispers any longer. I am going to bed.”

“Margo? Margo darling.” Bill pushed the door open and strolled in. Not a hair on his head or a thread of his tailored suit was out of place. His dark eyes asking, “What is wrong?” he was instantly at her side.

Margo rose. Eyes flashing, she turned, a hairbrush in her hand. “If you think that I will smile and exchange pleasant lies with all of those phony friends of mine, you are terribly wrong Mr. Crane.” She spun around, sat back down and began vigorously brushing her thick waves of hair. “You, of all people, fussing over that child. She could be your daughter.” You of all people. Is she outside my door? Will she have free access to my bed room? Do you have free access to hers?” Birdie quietly disappeared with a tray of empty glasses.

In one step, Bill caught Margo and pulled her to him. She couldn’t resist his strength. She struggled to be free, Bill held on until she was in his arms. “Darling. My Darling Margo. My beautiful star of all broad way. How can you doubt my love for you? Don’t you know that that girl means nothing to me? I love you. Do you hear me, my pet? I love only you.”

Margo softened. She turned her face up to look into his eyes. She blinked her lashes, a fleeting look, questioning. Her lips pouted then turned into a teasing smile. She slid her arms around his strong shoulders. Bill’s embrace reassured her of his love. “The girl will lose,” Margo thought. “She will not have my fans. She will not have my Bill.”

Copyright-Kathleen M. Brosius - January 27, 2010

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February 16, 2010

Games People Play

Paralympic Archer















Kathleen Here




   The Games People Play

I am an observer more than a participant in sports. Oh I have down hill skied, and ice skated. I can swim a little, and as a child, I won a relay race a couple of times. I can even lift weights if they aren’t very heavy. So I am not surprised that I become excited when the Olympic Games come to town. I was aware of those super star athletes as far back as 1952. The town of Helsinki, Finland was where Floyd Patterson won a gold medal in boxing. My dad talked about it for weeks.

As long as I can remember I have enjoyed watching the big games from our living room, every four years. When television became the focal point in our home, we would watch the athletes work the hardest that they have ever worked, hoping, praying, that they would be awarded a Gold Medal.

I remember the thrill I felt when Peggy Fleming won Gold in the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France in 1968. I cried when Palestinian terrorists killed eleven Israeli athletes in Munich, in 1972. Although these Games suffered horror and heartbreak, names such as Olga Korbut and Mark Spitz are remembered for their Gold. The haunting melody of Nadia’s Theme brings the vision of a 14 year old girl from Romania who scored a perfect 10 in the 1976 Games. The score board had to be adjusted because until then the number 10 was not on it.

I can still see a broken hearted Dorothy Hamill skating off the ice, thinking that she was being booed by the crowd, when, in fact, they were screaming with delight at her perfect score. Remember the young men who were the Miracle on Ice? The US Hockey Team beat the Soviets who owned the rinks by winning four consecutive Winter Games. And who can forget, in 1984, the beautiful love story performed by Torvill and Dean who took us on a journey of intense love and suffering in their Ice Dancing interpretation of Bolero.They won Gold for the United Kingdom. That same year, Scott Hamilton, wowed the world with his expert figure skating. Another Gold.

Gymnastics brought us Mary Lou Retton. Jamaica introduced the world to the Jamaican Bobsled Team. Eddie the Eagle jumped high and strong and we cheered. Michael Phelps awed the judges with his powerful swimming in 2008, and broke the record, winning eight Gold Medals.

One cannot mention all of the wonderful, inspiring young athletes who have given their all at the Olympic Games through the years. This has been a list of just a few whom I remember and admire.

With pride and determination, representatives from around the world, march together at the opening ceremonies. So proud they are and those of us who watch feel love and compassion. So happy they are. So free, their hearts full of anticipation.

The Opening Ceremonies of all the Games have been spectacular. The Torch has traveled from Olympia, Greece across the world to where it would finally light the giant Cauldron and announce the beginning of the Games. We were touched to see Muhammad Ali light the Torch at Atlanta. We felt compassion and pride for Paralympic Archer Antonio Rebollo when he shot a flaming arrow into the Cauldron at Barcelona. In 2004, the Torch traveled from it’s birthplace around the world, stopping at every city that has hosted the Games, then returning to Athens, Greece before opening the Summer Games. Determined mountaineers, for the Bejing Games, climbed to the top of the world and placed a flame at the summit of Mount Everest. The flame bearers cried “One world, one dream,” their Olympic Motto. A special road was built to the Everest Base Camp which then opened the way for the torch bearer’s journey to the top.

This year, in Vancouver, after traveling through the most northern provinces, the Torch bearers relayed the flame into the streets of Canada’s most beautiful city and on into BC Place, where the towering icicles carried the flame to the waiting Cauldron.

All of Canada, along with the world, cheered as Alexandre Bilodeau of Montreal, in Down Hill Mogul skiing, won the first Gold Medal for Canada.There are 10 days ahead with more of my favorite games. I will partake in most of them: watching, enjoying, feeling, with them, the Thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.

Copyright Kathleen M. Brosius February 16, 2010

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February 05, 2010

Grandpa Misses His Grand kids and Gets Creative


     Is The Weather Getting To Grandpa?  Does Grandpa Have To Much Time On His Hands?  Aw Shucks!


     I suppose I should 'Splane' myself.  As I said in the title I miss my grand kids a lot.  Yes the weather has kept me indoors a little more than I would like and I could never have to much time on my hands.  Most of you who follow our blog know I like to mess with the computer and I am constantly awed by what one can do with it. 

     When I find a program that I might like to play with or experiment with I am likely to give it a try as long as it is free.  I like free.

     The other day while 'surfing the net' I found an Internet Karaoke program that looked interesting.  I have always wanted to try my hand at Karaoke but have shy ed away from it because it tends to lend itself mostly to a tavern atmosphere and I'm not much for the bar stool scene.  As 'Jerry' says, "Not that there's any thing wrong with that".

     The first thing I chose for my first jump off the cliff into the world of song is available to you through the link below.  I have always liked this 'story song' as it takes me back to my trucking days which were very memorable to me and it affords me the chance to link to my grand kids through its story.

     When you click on the link, have some patience as it may take a second to load.  If it stops on you as it is playing, try setting the slide to the left.  I'm sure with a little trial you will get it to play.

     Don't be too critical of me now as I really did this for my four grand kids and I trust they will not be to critical of Grandpa for trying!


                                                               click here


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February 03, 2010

Scent of Magic

My Favorite Old Lamp






























Kathleen here


Here is a little sample of what I wrote at a "Writers' Group" here at Fun n Sun.



Flickers of Light

The familiar sound of an owl, shadows flickering on the wall, the touch of the soft feather mattress that we lie on: these are a few of the senses experienced during a night spent in an old shanty that rested on the banks of the Minnesota Sough. There was no running water and no electricity. In a tiny kitchen, our mother used a two-burner propane stove to prepare supper. She stored milk and butter in an old ice box on the porch.

We had several kerosene lamps in those days. The smell of the golden fluid that brought life to that humble cottage gave me much comfort during my young life. I loved the lamp that sat on a small table beside the bed, best of all. A round glass bowl, that held the kerosene, perched on a tall pedestal. A cotton wick was fed down though the burner until it dipped into the amber fuel below. The saturated wick would be ignited and the glow of the flame illuminated the room and strew mysterious shadows about. A sparkling glass chimney protected the flame, as it flickered and danced inside its crystal prison.

Our mother took my brothers and me on adventures around the world as she read stories from ancient books. I recall: The Bobbsey Twins, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Yellow Eyes, and of course Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Today, we have all the luxuries of modern life, it seems, no matter where we go. But there is one thing that I truly miss, that old kerosene lamp. Whenever I smell kerosene, I travel back to a world where fairies danced on walls, where a mighty owl ruled the woods at night. My mother was close and my father near-by. So grateful am I for the gift of memory. A flame that flickers deep in my soul comes to life at just the smell of yellow liquid gold.

Copyright by Kathleen M. Brosius - January, 2010






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January 14, 2010

Nostalgia Sets In

     I have not experienced as much Nostalgic Thoughts in the past as I have this winter and I suppose it is because the weather has been so questionable here in Texas.  It could just be because of advancing age but I don't want to admit to that, at least not yet.

     In a recent post on this blog I included a visit to the past and I got more comment about that posting than I have received in a long time so along with my having time to reflect I thought I would share with you.  Fortunately, years ago while preparing for this new life of ours, full-timing in the 'tininthewind' I started a web-site:   and because of the many entries there it is easy for me not only to privately revisit the past but to also share again through this blog, by linking you to where my thoughts are at the moment.  Click the following link to join me on a trip down memory lane.  Have your sound turned on.  When you reach the pictures you can click on them to enlarge.


                                                             Nostalgic Visit


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January 07, 2010

Rambling Reminiscence

George and Bill in Hanger














     In the picture above that is me with my youngest son, Bill.  The setting for the picture taken in about 1980 is an old 'chicken coop' in our back yard that we had converted to 'the hanger'.  My hobby was building Remote Control airplanes, flying them, crashing them, and most importantly, teaching the art of the hobby to my sons.  Both Bill and Scott became quite talented in their own right and many of those talents learned back then they carry with them today.

     Bill is pictured holding a near completed Corsair WWII fighter plane and I am displaying the kit of a P-38 fighter plane also of WWII vintage.  Now for those of you who don't know, these kits for the most part contained a box of balsa wood and a set of plans.  We built a lot of different models over the years and to see pictures of some of them you can go visit "my den" by clicking the link.  Once there click on the door and then when inside click on 'RC Hobby'.  If you are so inclined you can even click on the round silver bullet at the bottom of that page for a slide show of the many planes.

    The P-38 held significance for me as it was the plane that my father was killed flying in WWII when I was but 3 months old.  I worked on building that P-38 kit in to the 1990's but other interests (fishing), and the fact that my son's had graduated high school and left home, I put it aside as I didn't relish spending time in 'the hanger' alone.

     Just before going full-time RV-ing I gave all of the remaining Remote Control equipment, parts, pieces, and planes to Bill as he now was the only one of us who had a house/garage big enough to accept it and was now back in to participating in the hobby.  The P-38 was among the remnants of unfinished pieces and parts.

      In September of 2008 Bill surprised me with a call to let me know that he had completed the P-38.  Converting the power plants from gas to electric and was ready to fly it.  He asked if I wanted to be present?  We set the date and for sure, I was on hand for its "Maiden Flight".  I wrote about it in the pages of this blog back then and with much pride I share it with you now.

     Click on the following link to Reminisce with me!


                                                       "Maiden Flight"   





Painting of P-38










As an added note:  I commissioned an artist from Ohio to air brush for me the above painting.  Painting for me two mirror images that I displayed on each side of the semi-trailer as I trucked across the USA during my last career before retiring.  I received many calls on the 0l' CB as I rolled along and for sure many came to recognise me as we passed.

     My message then------- is as it is now:

Please! Don't allow the squandering away of blood and treasure that it took to keep this beautiful country free!  The sacrifices made from then to now have been huge.  Don't allow them to have been in vain.

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November 20, 2009

Fickle Fingers of Fate

     It has been some time since my last post to the Blog and we have been getting a lot of e-mail questioning our well-being such as the following from Sharon:


George & Kathleen,
How are you.  We look forward to reading your blog each day.  I sympathized with Kathleen in regard to her hip surgery before and after as I went through it about 4 yrs. ago.  It's amazing how well it works after the recovery period and I certainly don't miss the pre-surgery pain.
My purpose for this memo is that we are concerned that something has happened with our favorite blogger two-some as there has not been a posting for some time now.
Best wishes and a Happy Thanksgiving to you both.
Sharon Keele
Sharon and Jerry,



     How nice to hear from you.  Kathleen is doing great with her new hip and also grateful to be rid of the pre surgery pain.  It was a long summer sitting in La Crosse waiting to get the surgery done and then hanging around for the initial 6 wks after.


     One day after her surgeon pronounced her fit to travel we were readying the ‘tininthewind’ for travel when I started seeing double just when I looked to the left.  My eye’s were feeling heavy I remember and I told Kathleen it was her turn to go to the walk in clinic and sit and wait for me to get checked out.  To preface a bit here-----I had become upset with the blood pressure medicine I had been taking because it made me feel like I was floating all the time so I had stopped taking it.


     On arrival at the walking in clinic I was checked first by a nurse who long story short rushed me off to the emergency ward as my blood pressure was sky high.  The ER folks were concerned about my seeing double and rushed me off to have a CT scan as they were concerned I might be having a stroke.  CT was normal and after several hours and all kinds of blood tests they sent me home with instructions to get back on the BP medicine.  I did, but in the next few days like a windshield wiper the double vision progressed to about 80% of my vision field from left to right.  I went back in and they sent me to an eye specialist who proclaimed that I was suffering from “6th nerve palsy” most likely caused by a micro bleed (mini stroke) somewhere in the brain due to the high blood pressure and probably high blood sugar as now they were telling me I was also diabetic.  News to me!  Within two days of seeing the eye specialist and being told that there was no medicine they could give me to make it go away, the only hope was that in time------I should give it 2 to 3 months and it ‘could’ get better.  In that two day time the double vision went complete 100%.  If I covered one eye, and it didn’t matter which one, I got rid of the double vision and could even drive, but it was uncomfortable.


     Now for some good news!!  It is 5 wks since the onset of my eye problem and I am happy to say that about 80% of my vision field has returned to normal.  I only have the 20% to the far left (peripheral) that is still double.  It seems that each day things have progressively got better so I continue to hope that I will recover 100%.


     We left the La Crosse area about a week ago because there was nothing further to be done for me----only to wait it out.  When we first left I drove with a patch over one eye but today I am able to drive just fine with both eye’s as long as I turn my head to look left and not rely on my peripheral vision to that side.


     We are set up along Fork Lake in Texas at a very remote little Resort with one RV pad.  My little boat is in the water and the fish are calling. 


     We will migrate closer to the Rio Grand Valley as weather and aching joints dictate.



Stay Well, we think of you often.  George.

     To all of our friends and especially our Blog followers I thank you for expressing your concerns.  It was difficult to read and or work at the computer and yes, I admit, I was a bit in the dumps over my situation.  Each day shows more progress to my vision returning to normal and I am feeling more like getting back to a normal routine.  I should get back to blogging on a regular basis very soon.

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October 15, 2009

Modern Electronic Marvels and What they mean to the RV'er

     As one lives and Travels in an RV, specifically if you are full-time as we are, any "Modern Electronic Marvel"  is welcomed especially if it assists with the life style in any way.  Oh, to be sure there are full-time RV'ers out here enjoying the life style and they do so without even the use of a computer.  Being in the camp (no pun intended), of one who is somewhat "teck savvy" the modern electronic gadgets that can assist with the day to day tasks and or just plain add enjoyment to the day such as this computer does and our blog-------------well, where would I start.

     Obviously the computer has to be high on the list but anyone reading this has one and at the very least can do e-mail and read a blog so I won't dwell on it.

     One electronic tool that makes our travels so interesting and relaxed is the GPS (global positioning system).  I am blown away by what it is capable of doing for us as we boogie down the road.

     Usually some time before we actually start the engine and hit the road we have decided about how far we are going to drive on this given day and have a target town or region in mind.  When I do sit down to fire up the engine I will turn the GPS on and with one or two clicks I have told it where we want to go!  From there it uses the Satellites above to program our route.  A screen comes up that immediately tells us how many miles for todays trip and the estimated time to travel that distance based on our driving style.  With a few more clicks, I can ask it if there are any campgrounds or RV Parks that we have memberships in within range of our targeted end to our day.  That information pops up with addresses and phone numbers and asks us to tap on the one we want, then it asks if we want to go there.  Say yes, and we are off following a live voice that tells us every turn we need to make.  Should we somehow screw up a pleasant voice at first comes on and says, "please make a u-turn", if we  do not comply the voice becomes a little more demanding and usually drops the please, only to say "make a u-turn".  Now if we continue to ignore the plea,---------------well you get the picture, I won't tell you what comes next.

     Following arrival at our destination, we can tell the GPS that we are ready to go out to eat.  It will offer us a variety of food categories such as, American, Mexican, Fast-Food, etc, etc, etc.  We make our selection and press "go to" and were off, again being told every turn and within minutes we are in the parking lot.  No hassle anymore asking someone how to find "Grandma's Kitchen" which we have heard has good food.  The GPS knows where it is and takes us directly there.

     When we are rolling along if we decide we need to stop for fuel we can ask the GPS where the next diesel stop is and from the POI's (points of interest) that I have specifically downloaded to the unit such as all the Flying J, Loves, and or Petro diesel stops in the U.S., again, it will give us choices and all we have to do is press "go to" and we can count on being directed right to the pump.

     I can see how great this is going to be as we continue with this life style.  At 100 yrs old as long as I can turn my hearing aid up high enough to hear the directions, all I will have to do is turn left when I'm told to and or right when I am told to.   I bet our kids are wondering if they will ever be able to take the keys away.  Maybe the thing will even have collision avoidance features by then.  Kathleen says already it would be nice if it would just ask us before we pull out on the highway, "have you pulled in the awning, or taken down the TV antenna, or raised the jacks, etc. etc. etc."  hmmmm 

     I will have to work on that!

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October 14, 2009

New Hip -- Day 19

     Post-script to the previous blog!  We now know potentially when we will be leaving this area as the 6 week follow-up appointment has been scheduled.  That appointment is set for Monday, November 2.  It is early enough in the day that if they give Kathleen the OK to depart the area we will hit the road with the 'tininthewind's' nose pointed South.

     It is such a good feeling to now know a target date that we may indeed be able to head South.

     It will probably not be necessary to continue with the "New Hip -- Day ??" theme of our blog as we go forward as Kathleen is doing great in her recovery and already very little is slowing us down.  We will of course continue to post any news relevant to the recovery.

     Stay tuned for the announcement of plans going forward.  We will begin to look at our options.  That in itself is exciting

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October 12, 2009

New Hip -- Day 17

     Today was the first check up for Kathleen, post surgery.  First she would meet with one of Dr. Lawrence's PA's to basically check her well being, incision, leg swelling, and overall progress.  Then following that appointment Kathleen would have a check up with a physical therapist, Mr. Jim Bacon.

     There is good news and there is bad news (well not really bad news, just deflating news).  Kathleen is responsible for the good news and I am proud of her.  Both the PA and the Physical Therapist were pleased with her progress and gave her high marks for being well ahead of the average at two weeks post op.

     Now for the deflating news, and I take full responsibility for it.  Way back in the infancy of trying to get this hip surgery scheduled I made up a calendar and I would write down all of her appointments with the date, time, and whom with.  On this calendar I had written an appointment with Dr. Lawrence, Kathleen's surgeon for Oct. 15th (this coming Thursday).  Makes sense, and no reason to doubt the appointment as he probably would want to check her out after a couple weeks post op.  Looking at this appointment timing, the fact that it is getting cold in this area, the fact that Kathleen is doing extremely well, everyone including Dr. Lawrence aware of our unique life style and needs, I let my optimism get away from me and started to think on this coming Thursday he would examine her and tell us we were good to go, and believe me. off to warmer weather we would have headed.

     Not so fast------------there is no appointment scheduled for this coming Thursday.  In fact there is no future appointment scheduled with Dr. Lawrence, at least not yet.  We had always been aware that they like to keep tabs on their hip and knee replacement patients for at least 6 weeks and that six weeks won't be up till Nov. 6th. 

     Having discovered the error in our thinking that we had an appointment this Thursday and would be able to plead our case for early departure and now finding out we do not have an appointment scheduled we did ask when we could expect to hear when her check up would be.  We are told that Dr. Lawrence is not seeing patients the first week in Nov. (remember 6 wks is up Nov. 6th) but they would let us know the date of her appointment.

     Talk about 'taking the wind out of your sails'.  Thus, a deflating end to the day!



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October 10, 2009

New Hip -- Day 15

Place TemperatureHumidityPressureConditionsWindUpdated
La Crosse, Wisconsin  39 °F 38%30.29 in (Steady) ClearWNW at 12 mph 12:53 PM CDT
Rockport, Texas  67 °F 73%30.10 in (Falling) OvercastNNE at 9 mph 12:53 PM CDT
La Feria, Texas  72.0 °F 75%29.91 in (Steady) OvercastNW at 5.2 mph 1:46 PM CDT
Yuma, Arizona  85 °F 20%29.80 in (Falling) Mostly CloudyCalm10:51 AM MST
Emory, Texas  57.0 °F 82%30.16 in (Falling) OvercastNNW at 4.0 mph 1:46 PM CDT
Branson, MissouriFlood Warning Record Report Local Storm Report Public Information Statement   50 °F 76%30.23 in (Falling) Mostly CloudyNE at 5 mph 12:50 PM CDT

Edit My Favorite Cities List


     It is Saturday mid afternoon and you can see that we are not warming up here in La Crosse very much today.  I got up to make one of those "senior trips to the bathroom" about 5:00 a.m. and it was 30*.

     Above is an example of what I follow on one of the weather programs that I like to check each day.  As part of this program I am able to create a list of "Favorite Cities" and follow their weather as it is occurring.  The list above pretty much shows the eventual direction we will be heading when we get released from the hip recovery thing.  I include Yuma, AZ only because our good friends Al and Jean are there with their motor home as they prepare to head down in to Mexico and I like to see what they are experiencing.  You may like to try this INTERNET weather program for yourself.  It is a very good program.

Click on it and give it a try.


     The long range forcast is saying that this should be the coldest day of the next fourteen.  I sure hope they are right.

     Kathleen continues to do really well with her recovery.  She will be evaluated by her physical therapy folks on Monday of this week and then will be examined by Dr. Lawrence, her surgeon on Thursday.  I can't help but believe that they will all be impressed with her progress. 

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October 05, 2009

New Hip -- Day 10

     Kathleen continues to improve with leaps and bounds every day.  Today she was required to report to the lab to have her blood drawn so they could decide how many milligrams of blood thinner she should take.  It was her idea to stop along the way and have breakfast at one of our favorite little restaurants.  When we arrived there she said, "leave the walker in the car, just hand me my cane".  She walked in to that restaurant like there was no tomorrow.  I am going to have to rein her in a little I think.

     The weather continues to be very bleak in this part of the country.  Low temps through the 14th of October are hopefully going to stay in the mid 30's.  Then if we can get a couple of weeks of 'Indian Summer' to take us to Nov. 1st we will be sitting pretty.

     Kathleen has an appointment with her physical and occupational therapists one week from today (Oct. 12th) and I trust they will be as surprised as I am about her progress.  She also has an appointment with her surgeon, Dr. Lawrence on Oct. 15th.


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October 02, 2009

New Hip -- Day 7

     Hardly seems possible that it is the 7th day following Kathleen's hip replacement.  We moved today from Viroqua, Wisconsin and the fair grounds to Vernon Memorial Campground at West Salem, Wisconsin  so as to have water hook-up, and 50 amp electric.  It has been a very rainy, and cool few days and it looks like more of that is in the forcast.  We will stay here two nights and then will move to Goose Island Campground just south of La Crosse, Wisconsin and camp along our beloved Mississippi River for the rest of October.

     Since we are in West Salem we are going to go visiting our good friends Dewey and Mary Crocker tomorrow.  Kathleen has no trouble going in and out of our Motor Home and no problem getting in and out of the car.  Friends in the area, beware, to pass the time we may just come calling.

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September 30, 2009

New Hip -- Day 5

     We are just finishing up with day 5 following the New Right Hip.  Kathleen has done extremely well in my opinion and I am really proud of her.  She is walking with the assistance of the walker and scooting around far better than I ever expected at this juncture.  Her incision has healed enough that she will be able to shower in the next day or two.  Sponge baths up to now have sufficed.

     You would never guess what we are doing tonight?  No, not that.  When we were a little younger that was exciting, now just packing to return to the 'tininthewind' is all the excitement we need.  Yup, we are packing up all that we brought with us to this little stick house so we can load it up and return to our house on wheels in the morning.  Four days sooner than we had planned.

     We will remain at the fairgrounds campground in Viroqua through Friday and then will make a stop at the Veterans Memorial Campground in West Salem for two days and then on to Goose Island just south of La Crosse where we will settle in on a Monthly Rate to take us to the end of the six weeks we have been requested to remain in the area.  Of course, at the end of the six weeks the Dr. could request more physical therapy and suggest that we stay in the area but I rather doubt that will be the case as my patient is doing extremely well.  Baring any setbacks, who knows, they may even shorten the 6 week requirement.  Wouldn't that be nice.

     We are ever so grateful for the use of this little stick house, but I have to tell ya, we have missed our little traveling home more than any one could ever imagine.

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September 25, 2009

New Hip -- Day 1

     The new hip is a reality and Kathleen (my patient) is doing great.  She was wisked off to surgery at 9:45 and 1 hr. and 15 minutes later the surgeon, Dr Lawrence was out talking to me letting me know that all went smoothly and was showing me a picture of the head of the femur (the ball) that had been removed.  Even I, the amerature Dr. that I am, could see that two thirds of it showed signs of having rubbed bone on bone for some time.  The surface of it which is supposed to be smooth was pock-marked like you would see when looking at a picture of the moons surface.  No wonder my love, was in such pain..

     Kathleen chose to have this entire procedure done by having spinal anesthesia only.  She was groggy but alert throughout the entire procedure and her only negative comment was listening to sound of the saw as they removed the ball from the femur.  I was amazed at how alert and bright eyed she was so soon after surgery.  She had a full supper this evening and stood by the bed to test her new parts.  Tomorrow and Sunday she will have two sessions of physical therapy before probably getting discharged on Sunday afternoon.

     I can't tell you how impressed I am with Dr. Lawrence, the Vernon County Memorial Hospital, and everyone we have come in contact with.  I do not impress easily!

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September 24, 2009

The Start of the New Hip Journey

Hospital Recovery House















     In the picture above you can see our 'toad' sitting in the driveway of a mighty fine house.  This house is being furnished to us by the hospital since we have come from such a long way (South Dakota) to have this hip surgery.  We will be allowed to stay here until Oct. 4th, 10 days, and then will have to fend for ourselves.  Not to worry as we feel the 'tininthewind', (our Motor Home) will be so lonely for us by then anyway.  I know after just a few hours in this beautiful house we both are already lonely for it.

     This house is very nice with everything anyone could want, including housekeeping service every day and we have been told, "if there is anything you need or want just let us know".  Hmmmm.

     The 'tininthewind' is parked and set up at a little campground that is part of the Vernon County Fairgrounds, only about 15 blocks from this little recovery house.  I will be able to go there whenever to get anything we need and check on our 'wheelestate'.

     We are to report to the hospital which is just across the street at 7:00 a.m.  I am guessing that the surgery will be about 9:00 and by early afternoon I should get a new blog out to let everyone know how the patient is doing.

     Following is a short slide show.  The large building is the hospital entrance and I was standing at the front door of the house we are in when I took it.  The rest are of the house.  I hope we don't loose each other in this place as there sure is more room than we need!


                                                     Slide Show 

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March 13, 2009

On the road Cuts

     I call them cuts, Kathleen calls them Styles, and we, like even those living in fixed places need to get our hair cut/styled from time to time. We have for the most part been pretty lucky with it all and usually come away from the ordeal none the worse for wear.  Just recently we both had ours cut/styled in Lo De Marcos, Mexico for 40 pesos, which at the time was about $2.74 not counting the tip.  Both jobs were as good as any we have ever had.

     Today, in Columbus, Texas I decided I needed a cut and after dropping Kathleen off at Walmart to do a little shopping I headed out to find a barber.  Lucky for me, (well, maybe not) a short distance down the road was a rather large building with lettering to proclaim it as a barber college. 

     I'm one to support the up and coming so it was OK by me to give it a try.  Upon entry I was greeted by a young man sitting in one of 15 barber chairs reading a book.  The place was empty except for him and me.  I told him I was in need of a trim.  He asked me to sign in (guest type book) and beckoned me to come sit in the chair he was near.  In small talk, I asked him how far along he was with the barber school and he informed me that the school no longer existed but he had indeed graduated from it but was now working on his own.  That should have been gratifying, but for some reason I just didn't feel right about it all.

     I got a little concerned when he kept referring to the fact that I was 8 teeth on the left, 10 teeth on the right, and only 4 teeth on top.  I thought for a minute I was in a dentist chair rather than a barber chair until I looked in the mirror and noticed that he was holding up a tuft of my hair and measuring it against how many teeth it covered as he held the comb vertical from my head.  This is a technique that I have never encountered.  After all of this, he asked how much I wanted removed and suggested 1/2 inch.  How one equates 1/2 inch to 8 teeth, 10 teeth, or 4 teeth is a mystery to me but I told him, that would be good.

     Well, the long and the short of it, (no pun intended) is that I have just had one of those cuts that is almost enough to make me want to fly back to Mexico and get it straightened out.  It is about as uneven as you can imagine.  I honestly believe he forgot to take 1/2 inch off the 10 tooth side, took an inch off the 8 tooth side, and somehow managed a buzz cut where the 4 tooth area was.

     "Hey, Kathleen, dig out my baseball hat collection."  I will be going under cover for awhile. 

     I probably should have confronted the young man about the results, but I was a little afraid I would get something like, "Well, I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night."


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April 24, 2008

Back in the Mid West

Kathleen here,


We are in good Old Iowa.  Two weeks ago we had just returned from a base ball game between the Dodgers and the Diamond Backs in Phoenix. We were then excited to be going back into Phoenix for NASCAR. What fun that week was. Last week, we explored the sites at Tombstone, AZ. You all have read about that exiting afternoon.


We left Benson, AZ last Friday. I was looking forward to a week of lazy driving as we made our way to the Mid West. No hurry as the weather was still blustery with rain and cold and soggy driveways in Northeast Iowa. A long way to go and many places to stop and photograph. Evenings waiting for us to place another entry in our blog to entertain our fans.


I just don’t know what got into my bus driver. Well, I do know. Once we got onto I- 40 in New Mexico, George’s truck driving days returned and he kicked this old “semi” into high gear and we drove 10 hours that first day. New Mexico is a beautiful state with lots of cool places to stop and explore. We were beyond that state and into Texas before the sun set. A couple of hours and we said good bye to Texas Pan Handle and the Oklahoma Pan Handle. Ah, Kansas. We passed a sign that pointed to Dorothy’s house. “Let’s go and see,” I said. In a moment we were way beyond where Toto and Dorothy whirled into history. Then I pointed with my mouth ready to screech, “Stop,” that’s the way to Dodge City, Kansas. Matt Dillon, Festus, Miss Kitty.” This old bus just kept on. Ten more hours on the road. We boon docked that night behind an ALCO store.


I was disappointed but had to be satisfied that we did do quite a bit back in Arizona. I was anxious to get back to our homeland too. I even drove a couple of hours. The second night we boon docked at a Flying J truck stop.  On Sunday we found ourselves in Des Moines, Iowa. We booked three nights at a Coast to Coast RV Park and made a couple of phone calls. Our nephew and niece, Jonathan and Nikki May live in Ankeny. We spent a delightful evening with them. Toured their beautiful home, met Vito, their pet Guinea Pig, and saw ultra sounds pictures of a baby who is coming later in the summer. What a nice time we had with those two.




Jonathan and Nikki

















When I was a little girl, my best friend was Nancy Hosch. We both lived on the same street in New Albin, Iowa. We have always kept in touch. She and her husband Phil live in the Des Moines area. She came over to see us Monday and we had a great visit. Then we drove over to her beautiful home and we visited some more. Then we went out to dinner and talked and talked some more. We had such a great childhood growing up in very small town America. The things we did and dreamed about all came back to us as we talked. It was so good to see her again.




Phil and Nancy
















Kathleen and Nancy















So that takes us to Elkader, Iowa. We settled in late this afternoon (Wednesday). Then drove over to Garnavillo, Iowa to see George’s mom, Betty. She lives in a wonderful assisted living apartment. She was so happy to see us. She is a great lady and we are looking forward to spending a lot of time with her this summer.

George and his mom Betty

























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April 16, 2008

Tombstone and how our youngest got his name

Fremont Street
















Here they are buried
















George talking to "Stinky"

















Kathleen, Here:


and they met in a side yard behind a certain corral.


Where were we today? Can you guess? You history buffs of the old Southwest.


We have been parked at an RV park in Benson, AZ the last couple of nights. There is a lot of history in this area so we took a drive this morning to a neighboring town.


Tombstone. We have seen the movies (lots of them) depicting a famous incident on an October day in 1881. The famous Earp brothers: Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan walking abreast with Doc Holliday into infamy. Waiting for them at the end of Fremont Street, at the entrance of the O. K. Corral, are a handful of outlaws. Their names also have become infamous and the incident has become the most famous fight in the Old West.


Frank and Tom McLaury, and Ike and Billy Clanton were cattle rustlers and thieves, or as some say, “were just cowboys, trying to make a livin.” Now the leader of this bunch was not present that fateful day. He has also become one of the Wild West’s wildest scoundrels of all time. His name was “Curly Bill” Brocius. I know!  More about him later.


On October 26, 1881, what was to be a peaceful confrontation between the lawmen, the Doc., and the Clantons and McLaurys, erupted into a thirty second gun fight. Being nervous about facing Wyatt Earp, Frank McLaury reaches to pull his gun out of its holster and give it up. Witnesses say that Doc Holliday makes a sudden move, pointing his shotgun Tom McLaury. Wyatt Earp jerkes his pistol from beneath his coat and Billy Clanton starts shooting. The rest is history. The Earp brothers walk away unscathed, as does Doc Holliday.


Today the town of Tombstone beckons one into the past to experience and maybe even witness this gun battle. As one strolls down the streets, folks dressed in 1881 costumes greet and invite all to enter museums and shops. One of the most frequented establishments of Old Tombstone was the Bird Nest Theater. Pretty much the way it was back then, there are bullet holes in several places on the walls and ceiling. A painting of  “Little Egypt” who was a real “entertainer” covers most of one wall. Steps lead up to the “bird cages,” where the female entertainers performed and enticed their clients.


Curly Bill Brocius















George Here:


     We are currently in Benson Arizona and again staying at a very nice SKP (Escapee) Park.  This Park having the nicest layout and look of all the SKP Parks we have stayed in.


     One couldn’t be this close to Tombstone Arizona and not visit the OK Corral and all the history that goes with the shootout on October 26th 1881.  Even though Curly Bill Brocius was not killed by Wyatt Earp at the Corral that day, he was the leader of the pack of scoundrels that included those killed by Earp on October 26th.  It was later that Earp tracked Curly Bill to Gaileville Arizona about 60 miles east of Tombstone and supposedly shot him dead.  However legend has it that when they (not sure who they were) went to retrieve the body it was not found and some believe he may have not been dead and escaped to Mexico to live out his life there.  With this little bit of knowledge let me explain our day in Tombstone and comment on the naming of our youngest son William (Bill) Brosius.


     When Kathleen and I on May 19th had our second son we were searching like all young parents do for a name.  We were aware of a gloss over of the history behind the shootout at the OK Corral and knew that there was a Curly Bill Brocius tied to that day.  With that little bit of knowledge we went ahead and named our new son William Brosius.

Now you have noticed that the spelling of the last name differs as the outlaw spelled the last name with a “c” and ours is with an “s” but that through history was very common to make a change.  We had always been led to believe that Curly Bill Brocius was such a wicked murderous outlaw that shortly after 1881 and all the notoriety our ancestors wanting to distance themselves a bit changed the last name to Brosius.


     So here we are.  Having visited Boot Hill Cemetery and taken photos of some of the famous grave sites we proceeded to tour the town.  We had already learned that the only photo know to exist of Curly Bill was located at the Bird Cage Theater (an original 1800 brothel) on the main street of Tombstone.  We entered just as the host (dressed in period costume) was giving a short talk about the theater and then invited those listening to take a self guided tour of the entire facility for the sum of $10.00 each adult.  Everyone left except us, not taking her up on the offer.  We however asked if we could ask her a question.  We asked about the picture we had heard about and introduced ourselves.  As soon as she learned we could very well be living, breathing relatives, of the one and only Curly Bill Brosius who so often frequented the place we were invited in and invited to photo anything we wished, for free.  I made a comment to her about our naming our youngest son after this outlaw and for many years now we felt somewhat guilty for hanging such reference on our Billy’s head since Curly Bill was such a despicable person.  She begged to differ with us, and proceeded to give us her take on the real history.  She feels strongly that the real villains were the Earp’s and not those killed and or hunted down by them.  She claims that the Earp’s were ruthless, killers, hiding behind their badges and too quick to gun down anyone who might possibly challenge them in any way. 


     It is a fact that Curly Bill Brocius did kill Sheriff Fred White, but after a short trial in Tucson he was acquitted because evidence showed that the Sheriff was trying to disarm a drunk Curly Bill in one of the saloons and the gun discharged killing him.  It was said that Curly Bill wept over the death as he respected Sheriff White. 


    We came away from this visit a little relieved that perhaps Curly Bill wasn’t such a ruthless outlaw after all and even though rustling a few cattle was pretty serious in its day, perhaps the cloud we hung over our son Williams head wasn’t so bad!
























Bird Cages
















Poker Table
















Boot Hill Cemetery
































Curly Bill Killed Sheriff White by Accident












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April 14, 2008

Thunder in the Valley

     NASCAR is in Phoenix?  It's wet and cold back in the Midwest.  There can be only one logical choice.  See if we can get tickets to the NASCAR Races at Phoenix International Speedway!
















Phoenix International Race Tower















Standing center of Front Straightaway














      We did just that.  After a frustrating attempt to secure tickets through ticket master for the Friday night Bashar 200 and the Saturday night Subway 500 we called the ticket office direct at the Speedway and within minutes secured our tickets.  Quite frankly at such a late date at getting tickets we would have been happy with any seat just for being able to have our "first" experience at actually attending a race.  We have been huge NASCAR fans and fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in particular and have cheered and screamed at the television on Sunday afternoons for a long time now, and to finally get the chance to sit in the stands, hear the roar of those engines, and maybe get a chance to see Dale Jr. up close and personal, was going to be a dream come true.




Dale Earnhardt Jr.  













     While still having our RV parked in Casa Grande, Arizona we programmed the GPS for the address of the Phoenix International Raceway and early in the day on Friday we headed in the car for the "will call" window to pick up our tickets for Saturday nights Sprint Cup Race.  This was Friday and we had also purchased Pit Passes which would allow us in to the pits for both Friday and Saturday.  Our plan was to maybe buy tickets for the Nationwide Bashar 200 to be held Friday night.  After parking the car we were approached by a fellow in the parking lot asking if we needed tickets for any of the races.  Since we maybe only needed Friday night tickets, we inquired.  We were assured what he had was a bargain, and the best seats available right behind the flag man, in the 29th row.  I knew from my phone call to the track ticket office that what they had available were in the bleachers, down the track a ways, and I had been told what the cost was.  This dapper fellow had "best seats available", right behind the flag man, row 29, and they were only $5.00 more than I had been quoted for the bleachers.  I know what you are thinking------.  Just in case, I had Kathleen take his picture as I told him if these seats were not as advertised I wanted to be able to pick him out in the crowd!  He gave a big smile and Kathleen clicked away.




Our Parking Lot Ticket Purchase
















As Advertised
















What a view















     As you will see by some of the pictures, the seats were as he said, excellent and right behind the flag stand.  We could not have done better if we had purchased them months ago.  Not only were we going to see Friday nights race in style, we were also going to be able to witness the last Sprint Cup practice before tomorrows race and that would mean Jr. and others would be making some hot laps.




Go Jr.
















Mark Martin
















Checking Tires After Hot Laps
















Tony Stewart
















Matt and Jeff
















     The walk through the pits, and Friday nights Nationwide Series race were exciting and like a couple of kids just off the farm, we tried to take it all in, including the jumbo hot dogs, pop, and fries.  This was great, but our real excitement and the chance to see Jr. would have to wait for the big event Saturday night.




Pit Garages
















Kathleen and more pit garages
















Victory Lane
















What Ticket ?















     Like two kids waiting for the county fair to arrive we were so full of adrenalin that sleep did not come easy; we popped out of bed early Saturday morning and headed for the track.  We were veterans now, having surveyed the layout on Friday.  We headed immediately for the pits full of anticipation.  Seeing the cup cars, the pit boxes, the stacks of tires, the spotless and beautifully painted semi trucks, watching the pit crews finalize preparation and getting photos of some of the drivers and team owners, including Mike Helton, the president of NASCAR talking to Jack Rousch a team owner, we still had not caught up with Dale Jr.




Race Veterans
















Jeff Burton
















Mike Helton and Jack Rousch
















Kathleen at Jr's Pit Box
















Jamie McMurray















     We wandered the pits taking it all in, me with a back pack chocked full of essentials, that we thought we might need throughout the day.  The sun was relentless, and as it crossed the 90 degree mark we headed for the shade under the stands.  It was still hours before the actual race would start, but people watching and perhaps hot dogs and a coke would not be all bad.




The Stage
















Out of the Sun















     Our seats for the "big race" were in the Petty bleachers, section OO, row 27 (near the top), right across from the pit entrance, as the cars come out of turn four.  Excellent seats and we could not be happier.  One hour prior to driver introductions we took our seats as did thousands, and thousands, and thousands------of others.




Climb to the Top
















The Crowd















     The festivities leading up to the start of the race are as you see them every week on TV, except they take on a different perspective if you are front and center to witness them as they unfold.  There is the introduction of dignitaries, the pre race entertainment (army precision skydive team), driver introductions and their ride around the track as they wave to the crowd from the back of a pick up truck, the invocation, the singing of the National Anthem, the fly over by five jets in formation, and finally "Gentlemen, start your engines."




Army Sky Dive Team
















Go Jr.















     Once those engines come to life and the thunder in the valley intensifies, the pace car leads the field out of turn four and peels off in to the pit lane, and you watch the flag man throw the green flag, you realize what this sport is all about.  It's thousands, and thousands, and thousands of "good ole' boys and gals", the true heart of America, coming together to wear the colors of your favorite team and driver and cheer like crazy when their car makes progress no matter what position they are running in, because, its all about the points.




Ready to go Green
















Jr. Leading
















What its all About















     We did not get a close up photo of Dale Jr., we did not get his autograph, but we did each buy an official #88 hat, and each an official #88 seat cushion.  We may one day get that picture and his autograph as for sure this "tininthewind" has wheels.  It was an awesome experience.  See you at the Races!





















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March 28, 2008

Walk in the Desert

Heading out
















Little Geko















     We continue to take our walks and when we can to safely head off in the desert is always our choice.  We know that we have to be cautious as there are some deadly critters that call the desert home so we are vigilant.  The desert flowers are coming to life and many are blooming, especially the cactus.  We saw a lot of tracks that were both coyote and small deer hoof prints.  We came up on a few quail type birds that were some sort of prairie chickens as they were larger than quail.  It gets warm very quickly and the sun is very intense and it is fun to try and imagine someone lost in the desert and what they would have to do to survive.  For sure it would be a challenge, and one we would not welcome.




A road to nowhere
















game trail













































































digging out a den


















bone fragment

















a whole lot of nothin
























































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March 27, 2008

Did She Do It?

Kathleen You Wouldn't
















The Tandem Duo















     Kathleen has been known to take a little risk from time to time.  There has been more than one occasion when her loved ones, especially her kids, have been shocked to learn of her exploits.  Crawling through a tunnel beneath the plaza of an ancient city with only inches to spare on any side of her body for about 100 feet and then discovering that the exit was blocked.  Riding along in a car with a sinister looking fellow in the back seat who you just picked up hitch hiking who was carrying a shotgun on one shoulder and a burlap bag on the other while driving across Belize.  Or the time she cut out on foot alone across the desert near Oaxaca Mexico, looking for the ancient remains of a fort and was apprehended by some stone quarry workers.


     Now what would her kids say if they found out she went sky diving?  Probably the same thing I said!  No Way.


     We did have a great afternoon visiting one of the country’s most popular sky diving schools and demonstration sites at Eloy Arizona.  Sky Dive Arizona is the largest sky diving resort in the world.  There were literally plane after plane full of student, seasoned, tandem, and team jumpers leaving every few minutes and our field of vision was full of colorful parachutes crisscrossing the sky and one after one they would land within feet of us as we lounged in our chairs as spectators.


     Spectators we remained, so boys, this is one time mom kept both feet firmly planted on the ground.
































































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March 20, 2008

It had to Happen

     I knew one day it would happen.  I am surprised that I managed to get by as long as I have without it happening.  I still can’t believe I let it happen.  Where was my head, what was I thinking.  Obviously I wasn’t thinking, my head wasn’t attached, and I was caught up in the moment.


I went swimming at the pool today and so did my cell phone! 


     I put my sunglasses, towel, book to read, reading glasses, keys, etc. on a lounge chair by the pool.  Stepped under the shower (required before entering pool) and boldly walked down the steps carefully hanging on to the railing right in to the pool.  It wasn’t but a minute later and I felt this vibration throughout my, ah—mid section of my body, and I was thinking, wow—I should go swimming more often!  When I came to my senses I realized I had left my cell phone in the pocket of my swim trunks and the sensual vibration I was feeling was that feature you use in a theater, not in the pool.  It had shorted out real good.

     Of course one hopes that the sun will dry it out and all will be ok, but the reality is that rarely works.  Ironically I had stopped at the Verizon Phone Center to have them upgrade the software in my phone just two days ago as it had been giving me a little trouble.  I had inquired at that time to see if I was eligible for a phone upgrade and was informed that I was.  Today I went back looking a little sheepish but I now have a new phone—same number.  Now if I can just reconstruct all the numbers I had in my old contact list.  If you don’t hear from me it isn’t cause I don’t love ya—its cause I can’t remember your number!


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February 24, 2008

Here a Grant...There a Grant...Everywhere a Grant Grant

Grant Thacker















     Word travels quickly in the La Penita RV Park, especially if there is a little fun attached to whatever is being discussed.

     One of the women in the park suggested to Carole, Grants wife, that the Park Residents were interested in paying tribute to Grant.  She suggested that the best way to do that was first of all to keep it secret, and secondly everyone should dress and try to come looking like Grant for Sundays Hamburger Night.

     Now let me say, with tongue in cheek, and with deep respect for the man, Grant is not a fashion icon.  Quite frankly, Grant is one who truly dresses for comfort.  I believe some years ago Grant must have purchased a truck load of grey polo shirts, dark colored shorts, black socks, dark shoes, and a few straw hats, and try as hard as he might, he hasn’t gone through that truck load yet.  If Grant is tending to the needs of the park such as fixing a plumbing leak, or replacing a blown electrical breaker, or assisting to park a rig that has just pulled in to the park, Grant is dressed as I just described.  If Grant is going out on the town for dinner (where the waiter lays the white napkin in your lap) or showing up to be surprised at Hamburger Night, Grant will simply select from his closet/truck one of those grey polo shirts, dark colored shorts, black socks, dark shoes and most likely a straw hat.

     Word spread quickly throughout the park, the secret was kept, Grant showed up tonight for Hamburger Night, dressed as he always is.  The moment he saw so many that looked dressed just like him I saw him curl his lip trying to hold back a little smile, but when he saw a few name tags on others that read, “Hi, I’m Grant…Can I help you park your Rig”, He broke in to a huge smile.

     We roasted, through fashion expression tonight a man who has been a kind and gentle friend to us all as he did his best to tend to the various needs of this RV Park that is managed by he and Carole.  He took it all in stride and fired back at us with his usual good humor as cameras clicked and fun was had by all. 

     If we all could pool our advise for Grant it would be; don’t change man, we like you just as you are!

                                                      Grants Slide Show


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February 22, 2008

"I give you my word"

Musica de Africa















     Kathleen and I have attended the weekly market on Thursdays in La Penita since our arrival in early November and with few exceptions a group of young Mexican Lads can be seen and or heard at various spots around the market playing their home made drums and other percussion pieces to what they call “Musica de Africa”.  Suffice it to say, they have an awesome beat and sound.  We first saw them perform under full sunshine in early November when the temp was pushing 100 F with 80% plus humidity.  As the beat of their music intensified so did the sweat beading up on their brow.  They generally placed themselves in a half moon sort of position so the hat that they had sitting on the ground for “tips” was easily visible to those so inclined to reward them for their efforts.

     We would always return from the markets commenting to each other how much we enjoyed their music and wishing that by some miracle they might have a CD recording of their work.  It is now four months in to our stay and a week ago at the market I finally was able to ask one of the boys (in the red hat), if they had been recorded.  I don’t speak but a little Spanish and he even less English but he knew what I was asking.  He told me they had been recorded but he did not have any CDs with him.  If I would come to next Thursday’s Market he would have one for me and it would be 100 pesos ($10.00).  I told him I would like, dos (2).

     Yesterday we were at the market; our last one before leaving back for the states, but to our dismay the drum music was not to be heard.  Just before we were to leave the area of the market I heard the music off in the distance.  It was indeed the boys and they were playing to a small crowd who had gathered just outside the market area in the middle of the street.  We patiently waited in the warm sun for them to finish playing and between songs I got the young man’s attention and asked about the CD.  He was extremely apologetic and was trying to get me to understand that he would need a couple of hours more and he would have them for me.  I explained that we were finished with the market and leaving for the RV Park.  He told me that he would find me and deliver them as soon as he could.  I told him our site number in the park and told him to check with the office when he came to the park and they would see that he found me.  (Remember all this between two chaps who don’t speak each others language.)

     Several hours later back at the Park I was visiting outside our coach with several neighbors when I turned to see “Tacho”, (one of the park maintenance men) and the young drummer in the red hat approaching.  Beads of sweat were very prominent on his forehead and he seemed a bit out of breath.  He explained, that he had run all the way from town (a fair distance), because as he said, “I give you my word”.  In his hand were the two CD’s.  I gave him 250 pesos (including a 50 peso tip).

     We have listened to the CD and at first were a bit confused as there are about 13 tracks of various styles of music, (not drum music), but buried near the end are two tracks that without question are from him and his friends.

     How the CD was made, when the CD was made, where the CD was made all could be questioned but why would we?  The two tracks of “African Drum Music” are awesome and we will listen to it whenever we want our hearts to return to La Penita.

     We shook hands and I watched him walk back in the direction of town.  I regret not getting his name, or asking him to sign the unmarked CD’s.  I now have the memory of making a friend of a fine young man, struggling to express himself through street music, making a few pesos, whenever, and however he can, and being proud of who he is and what he does.




Musica de Africa















     Perhaps I'm just another Michael meeting Miguel!      

                                     Michael meets Miguel 







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February 16, 2008

Be my Valentine

My Valentine














     Kathleen tells me she remembers the days when the art project in class was to make the fancy box with the slot in the top to set on your desk on Valentines day so your class mates could put a valentine in it with special x's and o's on it if they so desired.  Heck, all I remember is conning some cute thing in my class to make the box for me!

     Valentines day in Mexico was no different than anywhere else.  Flowers were much in demand and finding space at a restaurant required a reservation.  Several of us got together and took our Special Valentines to Dinner.

     Several of our other close friends here in La Penita had other plans so I didn't get to take their pictures but they also enjoyed an evening together.  The following couples found themselves in front of my camera.


Glen and Brenda
















Al & Jean















Barry & Marion













Happy Valentines Day to All our Friends!

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February 12, 2008

Lovers On The Beach

Lovers On The Beach























Kathleen here,


The plan, always, is to drag our chairs, our books, our sunscreen, and our bottles of water down to the beach and enjoy a lovely afternoon of relaxation. And this we do. The blue sea, endless and beckoning, it’s waves crashing to shore, each with a different style, a different sound, a different purpose. But the many times we have been to the beach, I have yet to pick up a book. I have not closed my eyes for a quick siesta.


I cannot take my eyes off of the surf, as it is mesmerizing. The last time we were there, my attention was given to a couple of coconuts that had found their way to the shore. They were bouncing and rolling with the waves, as if they had together planned a day of fun in the sun.


I imagined them being lovers frolicking in the surf. One was caught by a wave and rode it high until it was dumped onto the incoming rush. He then rolled until the wave deposited him onto dry sand far up onto the beach. His mate bobbed in the surf and caught a wave as she called for her lover to join her. She rolled and bounced, attempting to reach him, but the surf only pulled her back again into the sea. Soon a crashing wave rolled in far enough to catch him; he grabbed it and was washed out to her. They again played together enjoying the cool sea. Another roll of the sea and she found herself on the sand. She watched him as he was tossed about calling to her. Occasionally they both were together either in the waves or on the sand. But never were they ever close enough for an embrace.


This continued for the duration of our visit to the beach. As the afternoon passed, the waves grew stronger and fiercer. One of the lovers got a little too far out. Her mate rolled and twisted on the sand trying to catch an out going wave, only to be pushed higher onto the beach. I could imagine his calls to her as he watched in horror. She continued to bounce and with helpless attempts, she was pulled further and further away. A wave finally caught him and he pushed to reach its peak. He threw himself out to her with a frantic heart and sickening fear. But she was no where to be seen. The under tow had swept her beyond the protection of the small cove and had sent her tumbling onto the rocks. His attempts to join her beyond the barrier of rocks, was in vain.  He was sent rolling, as the waves spit him out onto the sand.


As we prepared to leave, a wave rushed ashore and he soon was on it gaining speed and heading out to catch a climbing roll to the sea.  I turned and watched him, as we climbed the steps to our car. He was bouncing and turning, calling and crying for his beloved.  At last I saw her. She had made it to the safety of the beach away from the fierce waves and the rocks. But jagged rocks now separated them. She was calling to her mate, trying to be heard above the crashing sound. She was safe. Did he hear her? Was he trying to catch the wave that would carry him to her? My hope is that they would find one another and the sun would set as they finally shared an embrace.


George, who has not the imagination that I have, had one remark after reading my story.

“I wonder if one of them could have been Wilson?”


                                                      Slide Show

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February 11, 2008

Bebe Karen Michelle Arrives

Welcome Baby















Bebe Karen Michelle Honors RV Park


     What a treat!  Our special friend Cece, the young Mexican lady who is responsible for the pool side restaurant has been doing a stellar job of preparing breakfast’s pool side with her helper Ruebin since our arrival in November, and has been doing so while very much with child.

     A week ago today “bebe Karen Michelle” was born to Cece and Javier.  Javier has temporarily taken over Cece’s kitchen duties and he and Rubin continue to put out some mighty fine morning meals.

     It goes without question that with all the Ladies, and especially grandma’s, or grandma’s in waiting, that for someone as well liked by all as Cece is, there would have to be a baby shower.

     Today the baby shower was held and to those of us who participated it was a special moment to welcome the little Chiquita to the RV Park.  There were gifts to be given for sure but the highlight for most was the opportunity to get that grandma or grandpa fix by holding, but if only, for a moment such a tiny miracle.  Especially for one soon to be grandma and grandpa, Dennis and Helen, who are expecting their first grandbaby in July?


                                                        Slide Show

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February 09, 2008

Shoes and Flowers

Shoes Outside our Door















Shoes Tell a Story


    As I was picking up and arranging things outside the motor coach today I looked at the arrangement of shoes that we have outside the door and concluded that with a picture I could claim either that we had a lot of visitors, or that we just have a lot of choices when it comes to comfort in our new lifestyle, especially here in Mexico.  Actually both are true as when our friends do come a calling their shoe style is much the same as ours.  No need any more for the steel toe stuff, or the polished to the hilt boots, or the high heels.  No sir, just give us something that is easy to get the sand out of, easy to climb in and out of on a whim, and just plain feel good when ya’ got em’ on.

Rescued Flowers














Rescued Flowers


     When we arrived here in early November it was hotter than holly, you know what, and there were planters of flowers all along the walls of the pool.  Apparently when people leave for the season they put their flowers around the pool so the maintenance folks who tend to the park in the off season (Mexico’s summer), can water them.  The pots have the names of the folks on them and when they return again in the fall for another year they can go claim their plants and spruce up their pad as desired.  As people filtered in to the park throughout November those plants gradually were mostly claimed, except for a few that totally looked dead or in some cases the folks whose name was on them were for sure not returning to the park and those of us who were “newbie’s” to the park could claim them.  We moved three potted plants over to our pad that quite frankly looked to be on their last leg.  With a little fertilizer and some tender loving care they have thrived and are looking pretty good now.  They didn’t photo quite like I would have liked but from what I have you can get an idea of how they look.  Other photo’s are just around the front of the coach and to let you know that we always have the “Welcome Mat” out!

Fromt of Coach



























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January 16, 2008

Reading Andee's Blog

     When we first arrived here in La Penita RV Park I wrote about our trip to Chacala and my looking for Andee.  I copy what I wrote then, for you now:


     "We have been taking exploratory trips in the jeep almost daily and have had some neat experiences.


     One of our first trips was to Chacala.  A small sea side village, mostly inhabited by and frequented by native Mexicans.  There is however an American lady, who came to Chacala some five years ago, decided she liked the people and location, settled in, and has been living there.  She writes an almost daily blog and I have been reading her off and on for about 3 years now.  She also has always done a great job with adding local pictures to her blog.  She is a bit private about talking about herself and one never sees a photo that she would be in, also over the three years I have been reading her, the best I could come up with was her name was probably Ann.  She appears to be living on a very meager SS check, but then her needs are kept quite basic.  I have had other observations about her and was anxious to see if I could find her.


     While having a fantastic meal at one of the beach side restaurants I tried with my very broken Spanish to ask if anyone knew of her.  No one did.  On walking back to the car there was a few 5th wheels parked along the beach with Canadian plates and some of the people were sitting in the shade under the coconut trees.  After visiting a bit and finding out they had been coming here for several years I asked if they knew of an American lady who lived in or around the area.  “You mean Andy”, one of them said.


     It appears that she is around throughout the day and can be found hanging out in various places.  The gentleman who knew of her offered to help me find her and even to take me to where she lived if I would like.  I declined, for the moment, but promised to take him up on his offer later on.  After all we are to be in the area for a good deal of time. "



     We have been to Chacala three times now and although I look for her I must admit I have not made a sincere attempt to meet her, always going away with the feeling that, “after all we are to be in the area for a good deal of time”.


     I have just learned in the last couple of days that on the 13th of this month (January 2008) Andee Carlsson had passed away.  She was well known among the Bloggers who wrote from their various pieces of paradise here in Mexico and I am sure she was known too many like me from North of the Border who were fascinated by her blogged descriptions of her piece of paradise, Chacala.  I am going to include a link to her blog because maybe her State side family will leave it up and running and those who never read or met her can go back through the archives and get a sense of a lady beach bum, (and I mean this in the most respectful way), who had a captivating way of talking about her day.  Her pictures were always very good, even though she constantly felt her abilities at taking photos were lacking.

     One of Andee’s last postings to her blog, January 3rd, 2008 was her comments about the beautiful sunsets from the Chacala beach, with several pictures that she had just taken. 

     I note now that Andee's son has posted her passing on her blog but once you read past that please make note of Andee's entry of January 3rd.  It speaks volumns of what Andee was all about.


     It is that entry to her blog and her beautiful pictures that I will remember her by.  I will miss reading your blog Andee.  May you rest in piece.

                                             My Life In Chacala


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October 23, 2007

Preperation for Our Mexico Adventure

Oct 23rd - Our sole purpose of being at the Beaudry RV Park in Tucson, Arizona is to meet with our fellow traveling companions and sit through an informative presentation by Bill and Dorothy Bell, the renowned authorities on RV travel in Mexico.  Bill and Dorothy will then on the 27th lead us all, over a four day span, some 920 miles south of the border to La Penita, Mexico and what has been billed as a pristine RV park about 40 kilometers north of Puerto Vallarta.

     Officially we were to have arrived here a couple days from now and over a two day period prior to departure on the 27th, we would meet as a group to get acquainted and be given a lot of instruction from those who have "been there, done that."  And that will happen, but?

     Due to our A/C problem as I mentioned in the previous blog, we booked in to Beaudry a few days early and to our surprise so did several of our group including Bill and Dorothy Bell, and Carole and Grant Thacker.  Carole and Grant are the La Penita RV Park managers.

     We have now met those who are present as our caravan will all be staying in the same row in this park and earlier this evening we held an informal get acquainted gathering at the pool.  The discussion was lively as there were a zillion questions from those of us who are first timers to RV travel in Mexico and especially questions about the park that will be our home for the winter so very far from the States.

     Some of the things I can recall from the discussions are in random order:

     The setting for the RV park is jungle and therefore although not really dangerous some precautions are in order.  For example there are "Crocs", "Scorpions", "Iguanas", "Jelly Fish", and occasionally someone gets stung by a "Sting Ray".  Using common sense, troubles are usually avoided.

     There are a couple inland lakes less than an hours drive away that have excellent Bass fishing.  Wonder who asked that question? :)

     Bring as many swimming suits as you can afford to buy and find as you will be in them all day every day.  Sometimes changing several times a day.  Pool volley ball is quite popular.  Swimming in the Ocean at the beautiful beach is not as popular as the pool as a lot of people don't like dealing with the salt water issues, but there are those who prefer the ocean to the pool.  Boogie boarding is popular on the gentle waves that crash the beach.

     There are many excellent restaurants in the area.  The small town of La Penita is a short walking distance from the park.  There are market days in the village and several small grocery outlets, however everyone usually makes a run to Walmart and Sams Club which are about an hour drive.  The fresh fish, Dorado, Red Snapper, Mahi Mahi, and shrimp are plentiful everyday directly from the local fishermen who are easily found around the village.

     Is there organized partying?  Followed by lots of laughter from those in the know!  Answered in several different ways such as:  Mary's Margaritas are to die for.  Tuesday nights are Taco nights.  You have to buy the Taco's but the Margaritas are freeeee.

     As you can see the information we are getting is very informative and valuable.  This is all unofficial and pre-emps the scheduled get together.  I can't wait for when we get in to the real organized part of this trip preparation!

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October 14, 2007

Skype to Communicate

     The planning for our trip in to Mexico for the Winter is taking shape and one of the most interesting challenges is how to communicate with friends and family during what could be a relatively long five months.  Mexico has long been and continues to be a place that lacks a good mail service like we are used to in the States.  Their phone system although good is very expensive.  The Mexican RV Parks are big on having WiFi installed, much more than here in the States, and the speed is usually quite good.  At the very least every small town has at least two Internet cafes where one can get high speed Internet access.

     We for sure will be stationary for the whole month of November in a park that has WiFi and Skype is the method of choice for staying in touch with those from the States.  We are close to committing to being stationary for the months of December and January in another park which may have WiFi installed between now and our arrival.

     Skype is a small download and an easy program to set up and use.  Skype for those who do not know is a program that allows verbal communication between computers, or between land line and computer, etc.  I have us set up for both and would be happy to help anyone who has an interest in giving it a try to get set up.  It would require high speed Internet access on your end for it to work efficiently.  All that is required on your end besides installing the program on your computer is a microphone.  The inexpensive headsets are the best but not necessary.  The nice part of all this is that the communication back and forth is "Free".  Imagine being able to talk computer to computer with very little delay in the speech from one country to another.  That is awesome.

     Just Google Skype, download the program, give me a shout via e-mail if you have any questions and or so I can give you the information you will need for contacting me.

     Of course, there is always e-mail, but actually talking to one another would be a hoot!  I promise I won't rub in how nice it is on the beach when you have just come in from shoveling snow.

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October 05, 2007

Home and Home

Oct. 5th   We still consider the Stoddard/LaCrosse area home even though with our home on wheels our new home is where we park it, thus the title of this entry to the blog "Home and Home".

     We flew home to LaCrosse on Saturday Sept. 29th as Kathleen had her 3 month check up for the Breast Cancer issue.  Getting to LaCrosse is always a bit of a challenge for us as we use our parental privileges to fly stand by as our son Scott is a pilot.  We flew Alaska Airlines in to Chicago and then rented a car for our drive to LaCrosse.

     Our arrival to my moms place was late on the evening of Sept. 29th but in spite of being tired it was so good to get those mom hugs and we had so much to talk about and catch up on we were late getting to bed.

     Kathleen's appointments were all for Tuesday Oct. 2nd and prior to those we had time to conduct some business in the La Crosse area, visit with friends, make a trip to Cabela's in Praire du Chien, and get together with Kathleen's brother Jim and members of the May family for dinner at the "Boat" in Marquette, Iowa.

     The important news!  Kathleen's check up and exams were all negative for any return of the dreaded "enemy".  There is always apprehension to face leading up to these follow up exams and we are both greatly relieved that all is well and we can continue with our future plans and travels.

     We departed LaCrosse early on Thursday Oct. 4th and got on the second plane that we were listed on for stand-by out of O'hare airport and are now back in our "home" on wheels.

     We will be leaving this area of Washington State, our Sons and their families, for our winter destinations in Mexico on the 15th of October and look forward to having a ton of things to blog about as our future travels unfold.

     Thanks for coming along on our travels and we look forward to having you all along in the future.  We love hearing from you with your comments and or just that you are reading what we write.  That lets us know that we are not waisting our time with these entries.  

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September 06, 2007

Black Berries

     Sept 6th --

eye level berries














     We have moved today to a different Thousand Trails Park and my next blog will detail this park a little more with some photos added but for now I wanted to tell you a little about the "berries" that are so plentiful everywhere you go in this part of the country.

     We have been enjoying black berries on our cereal and on ice cream, and at times just a plain bowl of berries.  Everywhere we have been in Oregon and Washington we could pick berries literally right outside the door of the motor coach.  Today on arrival in this park we immediately noticed an over abundance of berries.  They are everywhere.  We have not tired of them and are a little scratched up from picking them.

     If I had one wish it would be that my mom was right next door so we could share a bowl with her.  Several years ago on a trip out this way, all of us, mom included enjoyed picking and eating the berries.



berry booty
















berry picking
















picking complete

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