Saturday, May 23, 2009

In Rememberance Of Me.

Mom's marker, I think she would have really liked this pinkish rose color of the stone.
Front view of mom's stone
Another angle, I think the real flowers are from Wanda, the pinks from me and Dad's arrangement is behind Wanda's, Susi had not made it yet.
Debby and Danny, the twin, I always place something there for mom.
From right to left, James, mom's younger brother killed in the Korean War.
My grandparents, Clyde and Opal Davis Stevens
Another shot of James marker.
Aunt Shirley, Uncle Donald's wife, a very funny lady who enjoyed good food and good fun!
Aunt Loretta, Uncle Junior's wife, skinny as a rail but was a very special person and worked very hard to make her family a good life.

Memorial Day or Decoration Day as the old folks called it, is a holiday for some people from work, a time to go out on the lake or rivers, have a few drinks, grill up some burgers and dogs and relax. As a kid, we never did any of the above, my folks never even owned a bbq grill, ever! But one thing we did was go to the cemeteries. We visited those with our family members resting in peace and even cemeteries without family members. Us kids loved climbing on the tombstones, and I like to think that those folks buried and dead kind of got a kick out of the laughing and racing around on the mostly quiet and solemn grounds. We took flowers to the graves of great-grand parents long gone and especially to the tiny grave of out older brother and sister, twins who died right after birth, babies who if not for their death I might not have been born. The weather is usually pleasant this time of year, mild with sunny skies, just right for a picnic somewhere. For many years we traveled with other family members to a local rest area near Conway to enjoy the nice clean shaded picnic tables. I'm afraid the tradition of taking flowers to the graveyard is a quickly dying tradition, most people don't want to spend the money or time to decorate a marker for a couple of weeks a year. It is one tradition I am holding true to, I will continue each year to buy the flowers and decorate graves, It's something I want and need to do, not just that I think it will help me remember mom, but I think of her everyday and miss her, but it makes me feel good to know that others See her stone and know her family cares about and misses her. It's just important to me! Have a safe and healthy Holiday weekend. Love you all.

A Grand Canyon Adventure

James, Stephanie, Kayley and Rhonda in front of us as we traveled to the Grand Canyon. Check out the beautiful mountains in the background.
A mountain with snow on the peaks.
Price board for entering the Grand Canyon, south rim, like I said in the blog, we got lucky cause we had an old guy with us and he got our carload in for $10.00, I really don't know how, but it was good!
Rhonda and Kayley looking over the edge, look at the tight hold she has on Kayley.
Dad, James, Kayley, Stephanie and Rhonda on a short rest break for dad, the high altitude got him slightly short of breath at times.
He made it, this is his birthday present, a train trip and the Grand Canyon for becoming 80 years old. I wish mom had been here for the trip.

Me and dad.
Some crazy foreign guy risking his stupid life, and I'm sure no insurance, I hope the stupid fool made it off the rock safely so we don't have to pay for his hospital bill.

Danny, Pete and Dad, I love these guys, but especially the one on the left, he is such a wonderful and kind man to go on this trip and be patient with my father.

We all left Flagstaff and headed North towards the Grand Canyon, the drive was pretty, some mountains, but lots of flat land with mostly scrub cedar and sagebrush. It took us a little over an hour to drive up and enter the park. We were at the south rim entrance and got a pleasant surprise when we found out by having dad in the car, we all got in for only $10.00 a carload, because he is old, so take an old person to a national park today, you can save a few bucks. Within the south rim area there was lots of places to pull over and look, we stopped at several and really enjoyed the surreal view, it almost looks photo shopped in the pictures we snapped. A beautiful, but hard to grasp park, even with looking at it it's hard to realize the enormous size and vision of it. We drove around and looked a lot, the weather was perfect, cool, with a slight breeze, kinda reminded me of a fall day in Missouri. About noon, we all drove back to the small town at the south rim for an expensive McDonald's meal, (value meals were $7.00) and there we split company, we decided to sight see on our own and James and Steph needed to head back to Phoenix, it was a long ride with a very tired little girl. We went back to the canyon and took more photos and enjoyed the scenery again, Pete and I threw rocks into the canyon, helping to fill it up and we all speculated on how many people fall to their deaths each year. (about 1 per year) We headed back to the small town we had lunch in and back to the Holiday Inn Express, which was also very nice, to spend the night. The next day the plans were to travel back towards Phoenix, visit an airplane museum and Bedrock, home of Fred Flintstone, more photos and blogs to come soon. Love to you all.

Friday, May 22, 2009

An Experience On Amtrack

Danny waiting in the distance, Dad walking slowly towards the Union Station in Kansas City, where we were going to board our train.
Amtrak waiting area, I shot on the angle for more creativity.
The ceiling at Union Station, such beautiful art work, moulding, light and windows and such history of the people who walked on the beautiful marble floors.
Dad and I waiting for the train, I look so excited, if I only knew what was coming up I wouldn't have looked so darn happy.
Dad trying to rest on the lower berth, I took the picture while hanging out of my upper berth.
Dad and I at breakfast, I had a spinach omelet with hash browns and had had cold cereal with fruit and yogurt, I know I look pretty rough, but I didn't have time to mess with my hair or makeup and I was riding on about 4 hours of restless sleep. Larry and Wink our breakfast table friends took our photo.
Somewhere in New Mexico at a siding, I probably took this for the mountain inn the back not the sided rail car that dad took such great interest in.

Due to problems with my computer/blog site/self, I didn't get all the pictures posted of the Amtrak trip part of the adventure, so here are the rest of the photos.

An Experience On Amtrack

A view of our dining car after lunch and before supper.
Where we sat for breakfast.
Watch your step!! One of the 2 sliding door that you went through to cross over the juncture of the two cars, it was creep.
Dad trying to walk on the moving train between our car and the dining car, down a very narrow pathway.
The same narrow path, between the outside wall of the train and the upgraded sleeper suites.
Narrow walkway to sliding door to adjoining car.
Country side in New Mexico.
Dad looking at the map, trying to figure out where we are.
Off for a break at Albuquerque, NM, the locals had set up tables to sell jewelry and crafts.

Well, as most of you know, Dad wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, by train for his 80th birthday. Danny and I took it upon ourselves to arrange the trip and make all the connections happen. While I was still on sick leave, Danny took vacation time to help me make this happen, no this was not a vacation for us, this was a challenge. With a vacation, you kind of do what you want and get to relax without worries, well all I have to say is travel with your dear old dad in a 4X6 foot cubicle for 24 hours and then we will talk vacation. Okay, enough said, except I may get an extra ruby in my crown of gold in Heaven one day or maybe an extra marshmallow to roast with Lucifer. We left Kansas City's beautiful union station last Thursday evening at about 10 pm, we boarded the train and was slightly shocked at the size of our sleeper berths, I am serious as a fish when I tell you it was 4 foot deep by 6 feet long. We quickly threw our bags on the lower berth and sat down until the train got started. I got the top berth that folded down, it measured about 3X6, with a small cargo net to help keep you from falling off of it. Luckily we were close to the bathroom, or should I say water closet, but it was about, well, lot's smaller than a closet, you could pee and brush your teeth at the same time. It was a fit full night, once we slid our door closed and locked it, it became a very warm and close place, which causes me a slight anxiety of thinking I am in a coffin. I slept about 4 hours, mostly after about 4 am when it suddenly became cooler, who knows. The train was about 1/2 full, so we really had no one else on our car except the porter and another couple towards the end. Our porter Simon was great and got us extra bottles of water and even canned soda for free. We got up for breakfast at around 8:00 and went to the dining car, because we had purchased the roomette option, we got our meals included in the dining car, which was kinda cool, we had a nice breakfast with a couple traveling with a senior travel group who was headed for the Grand Canyon also, Larry and Wink (his wife) were a very sweet couple who we were lucky enough to also have supper with. The meals were top notch, plenty to eat including dessert. The rest of the time we spent either in the observation car, which has a domed glass ceiling or in our little cubicle with the seats in place, I read and dad looked at scenery, New Mexico is all dry, hot, sandy, scrubby, with lots of old junk cars and trailers. WE did see some pretty mesa's, in red and orange, Albuquerque was one of the stops we got to get off the train for a bit, dad declined,but I got to check out the vender's from the local reservations, with jewelry and crafts. The only thing I bought was a a plastic horse with saddle for the boys, along with a diet coke and popcorn from the depot. Towards the end of our 24 hour trip we were bought ready to get off, enough already, our skinny butts hurt and our legs were cramped, we were tired of being bumped and jostled for hours, but he got his train ride and I am thankful for it. We left the train in Flagstaff, AZ with lots of other folks at about 9 pm, thankfully it was a very renovated area, fresh and lively with lots of lights and activity, we caught a cab to our hotel and was sooooo ready to lay our weary heads on a nice soft pillow, in the mean time, Danny and Pete had caught a plane in Springfield and were flying towards us, to land at Phoenix, get the rental car and drive to Flagstaff that night, I slept off and on until I heard from them, because of plane delays, they didn't arrive at our room until about 3am, both worn to a frazzle. We all slept well and woke up to a nice Holiday Inn Express breakfast, which is really good!! Biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, fruit, cereal, muffins, juice and coffee, I highly recommend it, this was a fantastic hotel, on Lucky Lane in Flagstaff, free bottles of water and chips were waiting for us in room, free of charge, nice pillows and linens. We got ready to meet up with my niece Stephanie, her husband James, little one, Kayley and my sister-in-law, Rhonda for a fun trip north to the Grand Canyon. Okay, stay tuned for the next blog about the Grand Canyon adventure with the Hillbillies from Missouri. Love you all!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Branson Air Show

Pete at the air show, in front of the Warrensburg, Central Missouri Sate area, along with a plane from Whiteman AFB. Pete spent his first year of college at Central Missouri.
A cool plane
The long line-up of cars and buses traveling out to the new airport at Branson.
One of the several parking lots to wait for the bus transport.
The on/off load area at the terminal.
Me, all by myself enjoying a snack of Harry and David's honey roasted nuts, you couldn't do this if children were along, they would all want a package of nuts and you would leave Harry and David's a lot more broke.
The guys coming from the bus after a long afternoon at the airshow.
Just for fun, the Titanic exhibit, I have been to it before, pretty neat with lot's of old stuff and information, just thought you might want to see it.

Branson had a huge airshow at their brand new airport and airfield over the weekend, Danny really wanted to go, he had requested the time off months ago, little did he know I was still trying to get over this simple tummy tuck. He had almost talked himself out of it, but kind of at the last minute we decided to go. We rented a room at the Radisson, off of Priceline, so wouldn't have to drive back home and I would have a spot to take it easy. We got to Branson about noon on Sat. and after checking in I drove the guys out to the airport. It was CRAZY, many, many parking area, school buses hauling folks in, but we trudged down the line and after about an hour to go 5 miles, I dropped the guys off at the terminal. They were very excited and it looked pretty cool, but I have learned my limits and walking up and down an airstrip all day was not in my best interest. I went back to the outlet mall and walked up and down sidewalks all afternoon:) I did get me a few new things, as most of my clothing is about 2 sizes to big. The guys called for a pick-up at about 4:30 and they rode one of the buses back, so I only had to meet them at Hollister. We ate at Olive Garden for a pre-mother's day dinner and Pete got my dessert. I love that salad and I made myself sick on it and then couldn't eat my seafood pasta dish. We cruised the 76, looking at all the cool lights and complaining about the out-of-state plates and the traffic. We headed back to our room and had an ok rest, we came home Sunday, after stopping off in Springfield to do a little shopping. All-in-all it was a fun weekend and nice to get out for a day. I am slowly feeling better and really ready to head back to work soon! Love to you all.