Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our first week in Cedar Key December 2012

Our rving friends, Maria and Brian, had arrived in Cedar Key a few days before we did  and we were reunited over drinks at the Tiki Bar down the street. It felt really good to be "home" - how we really feel about the place. We had purchased a used canoe through friends and it was waiting for us in our site when we arrived. There is an annual Christmas boat parade of lights every year in Cedar Key and we were excited to be able to participate in it. New paddles and PFD's were ordered online, along with some fun decorations, and all had arrived in the nick of time to dress up the "Wild Ride," as we called her, for the parade.

Early Saturday morning Bill and I went for a run down to the pier to check out the water and see how the town looked after being gone for six months. The water was a little choppy and I got a little nervous thinking about how we would fare with all of the big boats out there with their wake and this choppy water. I mean, we hadn't even been in the canoe, we didn't even know if it was sea-worthy!

Photo from Slider Magazine, thanks Jay for the push off!
We ended up being first in line for the parade, pretty incongruous, as Number 1 - we had never been in this parade before (or any other for that matter), Number 2 - we had never even floated in this canoe before, and Number 3 - we'd only ever been in a canoe twice before, in Tahoe this fall. But being the intrepid warriors that we were, we grabbed the big sign with the "1" on it and off we went into the sunset.

We were quickly brought up to speed as to where we should go and what we should do, but for about an hour we just paddled around the calm waters and greeted the other boaters. I was so happy that the water was calm and that all of the big boats were moving slowly and we experienced no issues with wake. It was a magical time watching the sunset out on the water and paddling around. This experience has to be one of my top five, ever.

Some amazing pics taken by Pat Bonish - except the pic of his boat I took, lower right.

It was truly a magical night - another awesome pic from Slider Magazine!
Eventually it got dark enough and we were to start our approach to the pier where the judges and town were waiting. We had no idea that they were judging us on anything other than decor, so when everyone started yelling for us to sing we were quite taken aback. And of course, with all the singing we do, neither Bill nor I could think of a single thing to sing. We just sat there looking at each other laughing. We circled around to watch all of the other boats and the sea was alight with beauty. People were singing and dancing and doing their best to entertain the crowd and I could have stayed out in that canoe for the rest of time.

Our friends at the Tiki Bar took home all of the prizes and they celebrated by hosting a party at their bar. Pat & Cindy (Tiki Bar) also hosted an "End of the World Apocalypse" Party on 12/21/12 and because it was freezing cold Bill and I wore our furry Burning Man coats to everyone's delight; it was good to be warm!

One of my favorite things in Cedar Key is the yoga and the following week I made it to class three times. It was nice that people remembered me and welcomed me back. Maria and Brian started doing some circuit training and I joined them twice that week also. It felt good to get back into an exercise routine and feel the redefinition of my muscles.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Savannah again...

I really love Savannah, there's just something about the buzz of this city with it's incongruous mix of young people at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) and the historical district. It's clean and has a lot of cute places to grab a beer, some interesting shops like the Spice and Tea Exchange and a great hair salon I've been to twice now called the Color Boxx.

Last spring we parked in the visitor center parking lot - great location but very noisy and really not that cheap because we had to pay to park the rv and the car, so at about $12 per day it was no bargain. This time we opted to stay at Skidaway State Park, an absolutely beautiful park and with Bill's senior national park's pass it was about $22 per day with full hook ups and more importantly, peace and quiet and just a short ride into town.

We hung out in Savannah for four days with nothing much we wanted to do except catch our breath. I spent a day shopping and getting my hair done and Bill rested up from all of the driving. We had planned to visit Charleston, South Carolina on our way to Cedar Key. I had just finished the excellent book, South of Broad, which was set in Charleston and really had an itch to see it but we also were getting desperate to just stop moving. Since we left Cedar Key on May 1st we had driven down to Key West, up to Maine, across to Washington state, down to Palm Desert, California and all the way across the United States and we were beat up. So we made a call to the rv park and moved up our arrival date two weeks and beat feet to our little spot where we spent two and half months last winter with a stop along the way in Jacksonville for an oil change for Bebe. It was also our last Whole Foods stop where we stocked up on all the food we knew we couldn't get in our little island town. We feel we are home now and in one spot for four months, our longest stay to date....should be interesting!

Atlanta, Georgia

We had planned to visit Atlanta on our way north last spring but time ran short and we put it on hold. This time it was on the itinerary and I was excited to see the city where my Walnut Creek friend's Susan and Ron were from. I had read a lot of books that were set in Atlanta and had great expectations. Bill really wanted nothing to do with the big city but was really looking forward to seeing his Air Force friend, Jolly, who he hadn't seen in thirty plus years. A hashing friend of ours from Sacramento had moved there a few years ago and we were planning to see him too.

The biggest issue with our stay in Atlanta was where to park. Atlanta is sorely lacking in the type of rv parks where we like to stay, especially in the area where our friends would be close by. We had been reading a lot of bad reviews of parks and the only place that looked like a good fit for us was at the Dobbins Air Force Base.  Unfortunately though this park had a "no reservations" policy so we were just going to wing it and hope for the best. It all turned out great and we loved both the location and the setting of the rv park.

We got together with Perry and his girlfriend Debbie (who is a sweetheart) in Marietta Square for drinks and dinner.  It had been a few years since we had seen him back when we all lived in northern California and he was looking good and happy.

And, of course, Bill got to spend quite a bit of time catching up with Jolly.

I did get into Atlanta proper for a little grocery shopping at the local natural foods store but didn't get into tour the Peachtree District at all, maybe next time!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Road to Atlanta

....from Bill

The next stop we had planned after Hot Springs was Atlanta, Georgia, but I had an itch to see my old house in Cabot, Arkansas, which is about 25 minutes north of Little Rock. And as usual I had a friend in the area. One of my classmates from the Air Force Academy, Bob Marston, lives in Little Rock and we had seen him and his wife at the reunion in October and thought it would be fun to visit them while we were in the area.  I didn't know Bob while we were at the Academy, but met him at the Little Rock hash when I was stationed at Little Rock AFB in the 80s. Bob and his wife still do a lot of running and we knew they’d be full of good advice on hashing as well as where to go and what to do around town.
Bill's Arkansas homestead and where his babies were born.
Since this was really just a stop on the way to Atlanta, we didn't spend much time here. Debby found us a great place to stay, Riverside RV Park, right on the Arkansas River and right across the bridge from the Clinton Presidential Library and the River Market District—a perfect location. As it turned out, hashing didn't work out for us, but we did get to meet Bob and Donna for dinner one night at a place that had some vegan options that worked for us. We also took a drive to Cabot one morning to see my old house. This was the first house I owned and we built it in a new subdivision on a golf course. Things had changed a bit, but it was still pretty much the same neighborhood as it was when we left there about 20 years ago. We also made a stop at the Cabot Walmart, where one of my friends had been approached about joining the KKK back when we lived there. Interesting place this.

Probably the highlight of our brief stay was walking across the footbridge to see the library and visit the river market district. We found some marks from an old hash that led across the bridge and to the market district. We thought they might be for the hash that was being run that day, but after checking, realized they were running well north of town. The library was pretty cool and provided an interesting trip back in time to the nineties. They had replicas of several rooms from the White House, but I didn't see the infamous closet where Wild Bill “did not have sex” with that girl. We visited a couple of bars/restaurants in the market district, but had a hard time finding one that didn't allow smoking and had anything vegan on the menu. Nonetheless, we had a good time and a great walk, and the next morning we were off to see another old friend in Gadsden, Alabama, but not before we got new tires for Bebe.

I’d been noticing that the front tires on Bebe had been wearing a lot on the outside of the tread. When we were getting ready to leave Hot Springs on Friday, I took another good look at the tires and noticed they were getting scalloped and that made me nervous. The tires were already five years old and due for replacement so we found a place on the south side of Little Rock where we could get them installed on Monday and extended our stay for a day. This worked out just fine. We got Michelin’s for under $600 a piece and were on the road before 11:00 am, pretty good for us. We decided to split the drive to Gadsden into two days and Debby went to work finding us a spot to stay for the night.

I've got to hand it to her; Debby has become a pro at finding incredible overnight stops. After exploring several options, including a few Walmarts along the way, she found an Army Corps of Engineers RV park just outside of Tupelo, Mississippi, that had great reviews. It was situated on a waterway with excellent views, especially from the fishing pier that was just down the path from our site. I whipped up a couple of martinis and we went down to watch the sunset. There were hundreds of ducks, geese, and coots swimming in the shallow water and the sun put on the best show we've seen in a long time. It was a great spot and we’d love to come back some day and do absolutely nothing for a couple of weeks (except maybe go fishing, which is kinda like doing nothing while drinking a few beers). One of the best things about this stop was that we got in for $12 a night thanks to my national parks pass, and we got a pull through site. Wish I had known that before unhooking the toad.

Don’t you love how the internet can get you connected to people you haven’t seen in a long time? A lot of our travel destinations have been determined by the opportunity to visit friends and family that we've found online after years of being apart. Our stop in Gadsden was just one of those opportunities. A few weeks back, Debby got a message on our blog site from someone that I had gone to navigation school with back in 1974, Steve Alex. After nav school, we saw each other once or twice when I was stationed in the Philippines, but not since then. He was inspired to find me after he and another friend had been reminiscing about the good old days, and find me he did. So we made our way to Gadsden and through some very narrow roads to his house. Apparently, one of the previous owners of his house had an RV and had set up a place to park it next to the house with full hookups—50 amp electric, sewer, and water. We hooked up to the electric and after cocktails in the RV, got started preparing a vegan dinner for everyone. It was great reminiscing with Steve and Jan and catching up on the past 35 years. We had debated staying for another day and going for a ride on their pontoon boat, but the weather was crappy with rain in the forecast, so we packed up and beat feet to Atlanta, Georgia where we would, you guessed it, visit some old friends.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hot Springs, Arkansas

I really had no burning desire to visit Arkansas, until I heard there was a town called Hot Springs. One thing Bill and I really try to look for on our travels are hot springs, this sounded like a place we needed to visit. That and the fact that our friends Chris and Cherie of had been here twice and loved it, We also got the skinny about a great place to park Bebe in the National Park for $12/day with Bill's senior park pass. So here we are, yes, right now, at the very moment I am writing this blog! (well that was a few days ago...maybe a week ago!)

We set up and got settled with about an hour of daylight left and took off on a trail from the campground up into the nearby mountains for a little exercise and to get the lay of the land. Luckily we were smart enough to grab our head lamps because by the time we got back it was dark.

Our first stop was to the Buckstaff Bathhouse where you can have a traditional thermal mineral bath experience, which we did, accompanied by a short swedish massage. The men's and women's areas are on separate floors; I went upstairs while Bill stayed on the main floor. I went into a little individual changing room with a locker and the attendant wrapped me in a big white sheet which accompanied me throughout my stay. Another attendant came and got me and brought me to a room that was lined on one side with individual old-fashioned tubs in curtained off rooms. These are the original jacuzzi's that look like they have an outboard motor in them to make the bubbles. I was given 2 little cups of the hot water (from the springs) and left there to soak for about 15 minutes. My girl came and checked on me several times and then I got out and she wrapped me back in my sheet. Next up was the siztz bath. You sit in a little tub of hotter water that is supposed to be great for digestion, arthritius, hemorroids and a myriad of other ills. I was re-wrapped in my sheet so my butt could sit in the water but my front was covered by the sheet. I was now brought cold cups of ice water. I had experience a sitz bath before, in the hospital after I had given birth but that was more like a jacuzzi sitz bath. This was just the hot water. It felt great, especially on my hips! Next up was the steam chamber. Looked a little like a torture chamber! I was divested of my sheet and sat on this seat - the part in front of me closed up and a little hole was left for my head. Every so often my attendant would pour ice chips into my mouth. I was then told to think about what areas I would like my hot towels put on, which was coming up next. I was very excited for this part - shoulders and hips, please, ahhhhhhh! I was rewrapped in the sheet and in addition to the hot towels an ice cold towel was wrapped around my forehead and cheeks...and more ice chips! Next was the needle shower and finally the massage. The Yelp! reviews had gone into great detail about the experience so I was pretty prepared for the massage being nothing special, and they were right, plus the masseuse had an attitude, but all in all it was a fun experience. Bill's experience was pretty similar except he was pretty much nude the entire time (sans sheet). He was underwhelmed and there certainly is no need to do it again, but what the hey!

Yesterday we took off on a hike into town to check out Bath House Row and do a little site-seeing. I had looked online and found a couple of restaurants where we could find something we could eat but our hike ran long and by the time we got to the restaurants one was completely closed for lunch and one had just closed. On our walk through town the ex-mayor offered to take our picture and mentioned a good place to eat. We were also greeted by a man who shared with us some of the local history. When he asked where we were from and we told him we lived in an rv and traveled around he said that he was homeless too! Everyone we have met here has been extremely friendly. We ended up at the Bolivian restaurant the mayor had recommended and had a fabulous margarita and meal. By the time we got home we had walked almost 7 miles!

Hot Springs, Arkansas was known as the "Valley of Vapors" and many flocked here to "take the waters," so to speak. The town is filled with very old, very large hotels that remind you of a distant era, most are no longer in use but a few still are. There are springs all over the town and many fountains that encourage one to fill up their vessels with the healing waters.

Superior Bathhouse is now under renovation to become the town's first brewery!
Last night we got online with our rv-ing homies and had a blast - first texting on Facebook and then Maria switched us all over to Google+ where we could all video conference. What fun we had - we haven't seen Sam and Tracy since January in Slab City and Maria and Brian since Delfest at the end of May. Three more weeks and we'll all be reunited - well most of us, anyway!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The happiest day... a boat owner's life is the day they buy their boat, in this case, a canoe! I am hoping that because this does not have a motor the last part of this saying doesn't come true...the second happiest day in a boat owner's life is the day they sell their boat!

We are now the proud owners of a canoe, our very first boat!

We won't actually take possession of our new baby (must think of a name) until we get to Cedar Key in three weeks, but she's ours now and looks like she just needs a little bling to make her sparkle. Maybe we'll get some "wheels" to make it easier for us to get her down to the water...we'll see. Just so excited!

Thanks to our friends, Pat & Cindy Bonish of the Low-Key Hideway Motel & Tiki Bar for hooking us up with the owner who priced this baby to sell!! Can't wait to load our beach chairs and a cooler for a day out on one of the deserted islands of Cedar Key...

And oh, by the way, this is written in real time - we are now current!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Smithville... from Bill

My brother Kurt lives in the small town of Smithville, Texas, about an hour east of Austin. When Kurt saw from our blogging that we were going to be in Austin in November, he invited us for Thanksgiving dinner. Even though we've been living a relatively strict plant-based diet, we decided we would make an exception for Thanksgiving, after all, it’s just one day. So we planned to get to Smithville the day before Thanksgiving and stay through the weekend since both Kurt and Chrissy work in Austin during the week.

Kurt likes to fix things. He and Chrissy bought a run-down house not far from the main drag in Smithville several years ago. They've completely renovated the place and it now looks fantastic. Not one to sit on his laurels, they put the place up for sale and bought a new dump on the other side of the tracks to keep Kurt busy. The new place is something that most people would tear down and start all over with, but not Kurt. He has taken on the challenge of renovating the place from the bottom up, and when I say bottom I mean bottom, like where the wood had rotted out between the frame of the house and the piers that support it. This is going to be a major project, but I’m sure Kurt and Chrissy will be up to the task.

We stayed at the same campground, by the Colorado River, that we stayed at the last time we visited. This time we got a pull-through site near the entrance to the campground and our front yard opened to one of the holes on a frisbee golf course that meanders through the park. It was fun watching and talking to the people that came through. We decided we need to get some frisbees so we can join in the fun. We seem to come across these courses all over the place in our travels. 

Our time in Smithville was spent for the most part helping to clean up the yard around the new house and preparing meals. We had Kurt and Chrissy over for dinner one night and ate outdoors on the picnic table after warming up around the campfire. We stuck to our plant-based diet when we cooked for them and it seemed to go over well. I don’t think we made converts of them, but they did seem to enjoy the meals. One day the twin boys from across the street came over to help with raking leaves. They were precious and one made Debby crack up when, out of the blue, he said, “My family is very smart and rich. We’re just waiting for our inheritance to come through." 

Thanksgiving was pretty traditional, with turkey, cranberry sauce, and my garlic mashed potatoes followed by pumpkin and apple pies. Chrissy prepared everything except the potatoes and the meal was delicious. Outside of a couple of Z-pies, this was the first meat we’d eaten in about two months, and it was good, and there was much rejoicing....and then we slept. We slept for hours……  Big thanks to Chrissy and my brother for hosting us for T-day.

We went back to Austin on Friday to stock up on food at the Central Market and Whole Foods, but not before stopping at our favorite vegan taco stand, Vegan Nom. The tacos were just as good as we remembered and we got to talk to the owner about some of his recipes. Wish I could figure out how he made that bean dip—so yummy...nom nom nom.

Sunday was packing day and Debby made pasta to take to my brother’s house for dinner. This was much appreciated as Chrissy was exhausted from painting the new house and didn't have the energy to prepare anything herself. Monday, we were on the road to Hot Springs, Arkansas, to “take the waters.” That’s where this blog is being written, which means we’re actually up to date on our blogging. Yeah! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hill Shade RV Park - unofficial home of the NuRVers

I had heard about Hill Shade in Gonzales, Texas as soon as we found the NuRVers online. It seems one of the first rally's was held here and everyone we met spoke highly of Christine and Michael and their family. Last year when we were in Texas we thought we'd get over to stay with them for a bit but our plans changed and we headed back to California instead. This time, though, we actually had about a week with no plans in between our stay in Austin and visiting Bill's brother in Smithville for Thanksgiving. Their park is now very busy and full-up with people working on the pipe-line out there. I emailed Christine and told her who we were and she replied that she knew exactly who we were and couldn't wait to meet us. We got lucky and a nice spot with a huge front yard was awaiting our arrival. Unfortunately, though, Christine was not - she was out of town and not back until the day before we were going to leave.

We had been on a whirlwind in Austin and it was nice to be out in the country with nothing to do and no where to go...except, of course, to the Spoetzel Brewery, home of Shiner Bock beer, one of my favorites, just down the road a piece in Shiner, Texas.

We did a lot of cooking while there - Bill made a fabulous vegan chili (with a few twists) from our new cookbook "Crazy Sexy Kitchen" and I made a few other yummy things.  The best thing about cooking, of course, is all the great left-overs you get!

Monday, November 26, 2012


...I do love thee and am thankful for the overabundance found in Austin, Texas! My most favoritist (yes, I said that) food is the AVOCADO and one of the perks of the plant based-whole foods diet is that you can not only eat as much as you want of it but it's actually a great way to get a lot of your essential nutrients. There are many places we travel to where there isn't one to be found on a menu, but not Austin, no, it's on every single menu we've been to in our two weeks here and I'm in heaven. I thought I might have hit my limit last night, but when I woke up this morning my first thought was can I use that perfectly ripe avocado sitting in my fridge this morning!

Austin is also, much to our delight, a vegan's paradise. There are 16 vegan food trucks, yes, 16!! And most every restaurant we've been to has a few items on the menu that are actually noted as vegan. It is a college town, but I don't think that even California is this vegan friendly. Yesterdays trip to check out Vegan Nom aka Rockin' Vegan Tacos was a highlight...not only were the tacos fabulous but their Mudd Dip with black beans, chili con queso, fresh quacomole and cilantro, wow - nom nom nom!!! I am still thinking about our meal there this morning!

So now it's been two weeks since we left Austin, the above I started to write while we were of these days I will catch up and post "in the moment" blogs...after 2+ years though I wonder if that will actually ever happen!

Amaaaaaazing food in Austin! Bill hit up Biscuits and Groovy twice and we went back to Vegan Nom twice too.
We LOVE Austin! We were there last January and tried to get into the Pecan Grove RV park with no luck. They only have about 10 spaces for "transients" and a very popular location steps away from Lady Bird Lake, music venues, a brewery and good restaurants. I had made reservations months before and was very lucky to get 2 weeks at the beginning of November. We left Hamlin, and our friends, a little too late in the day so we got to Austin right at rush hour, driving a big 35 ft rv and towing a car through downtown Austin at rush hour isn't fun, but people were really nice and even let us "merge". We got unpacked quickly and set out on foot to get the lay of the land. First stop, of course, was Uncle Billy's brewery - right next door!
Bill at Uncle Billy's brewery after a long run around Lady Bird Lake

We spent a lot of time running around the lake, walking over the bridge to downtown and frequenting whatever music venues we could. We also got to hash a few times with the Austin hash and hang out with our friend Smeg, who Bill knew from his Phoenix days back in the 90's. Austin has a great hash, good trails and friendly folks. A few remembered us from the Stupor Bowl hash last January. We did the Veteran's day hash and sported our required kilts.

Friends Derrel and Pam from Hamlin took this pic - they were in town for the UT football game and came over to visit. 
always fun with Derrel and Pam
Our friends are "The Roaming Pint" -sticker at the Austin Beerwerks - who guided us to The Gingerman!
The Elephant Room

With Smeg (aka Rick) and harriette dining al fresco at El Alma

At the Hula Hut with Smeg after the hash.

Sixth Street fun with Smeg

From Vacation to Probation...

...this is the last thing my daughter said to me this morning as she spoke to me just hours after getting out of jail where she has spent the last two weeks. I just want to give a shout-out here to my amazing husband and wonderful friends who have supported me through yet another difficult time of being a mother to my sweet, loving, troubled daughter. This is an incredibly personal blog which I have been given permission from my daughter, Lauryn, to share with you.

Lauryn is a survivor, she is my daughter 100% which is a good thing and a bad thing! She had a difficult time growing up, as did many of us, but she has yet to shed the weight of those experiences and let them work for her, instead of letting them drown her. She ended up in the Orange County, California jail after having a warrant issued for her arrest from a DUI experience earlier this spring. She was surprised to hear about the warrant because she had received the toxicology report back from the hospital (where she was taken after she passed out while driving) and it showed she had 0.000% alcohol in her system and the DMV had mailed her back her driver's license. But the DA was charging her with a DUI due to the fact that she had 2 prescription drugs in her system. She was in Long Beach for the big hair show (she is a hair stylist) and we (her dad and I) had given her the trip as a birthday present and I let her use my credit card to rent a car, ok, yes, big mistake I realize now. She has never been a good driver, very easily distracted and hasn't driven a car for several years now using her bike and public transportation to get around. After spending the day at the hair show having a fabulous time and not eating all day - she got into her car to go visit a friend before joining her hair show friends at a party - where she never showed. Luckily for her she didn't hurt anyone -this is definitely the best part of this story. Anyway, long story short, Bill and I were in southern California last month and I flew her down to go to court and deal with this. Having never experienced any dealings with the courts I was pretty ignorant about how things actually go down. The DA makes her a deal which she accepts and pleads guilty but the judge doesn't accept any of the deal, except for one part, and sentences her to 30 days in the Orange County jail (she had requested to serve in Contra Costa County where she lives). I am flabbergasted and cannot believe this is happening, I mean on all of those shows on tv they make a deal with the DA and that's it, right? Ha ha...folks this is not tv land!!

Things get worse when she doesn't sign up for the DUI class in time and chooses (with advice from the DUI school) to wait to sign up until after she serves her jail time so she won't have to pay the absent fees while in jail. Her dad buys her a ticket to get down to Orange County where another amazing person in her life picks her up and brings her back to his house to stay until she has to go to jail. She flies down a day early to go to court to request an extension of her DUI school. The judge laughs at her and tells her he is going to sentence her to an additional 30 days in jail because she has broken her probation by not enrolling in time and that she should "..have a good time because the jail is full of felons right now..." At this point she freaks out and asks for a public defender...obviously something we should have done from the get go. Let me backtrack her for a moment to comment that Lauryn has some super amazing friends and one of them works with a law firm (is not an attorney) and has some experience in this area. She advises Lauryn to go find the public defender who gives her some great advice and goes back into the court room with her to request a formal extension of time and the judge looks at her, and after being a total asshole to her earlier, winks at her and says "oh that's all she wants - sure."

Luckily for her the public defender also told her to remove any piercings she has because if she goes to jail with them they will put her in solitary confinement for the entire time. So off she goes to the local tattoo store to have it removed. She is doing all of this by bus in Orange County - she's pretty good about getting around but this is quite the day. Trying to get enough money together to put onto her account at the jail so she can get something other than a bar of soap to brush her teeth, bathe and clean her clothes with in addition to supplementing the meager meals they provide. Again she has been given advice from the many wonderful people in her life. She is great about providing me a website where you can get a lot of information about what happens in this jail which is well known as one of the worst jails in California with regards to the type of people who are here and the strictness of the courts.

Once she's in we all have to learn how to connect with her by mail and phone, another bit of education for me to add to my resume. Lauryn has connected me to a few of her friends which is great, one friend in particular has been very supportive, everyone who knows her wants to help and is going way out of their way to figure out how to let her make collect calls from the jail which cost about $1/minute. I am really quite taken aback by how many people love her and support her.

She ends up being put in a jail with a crazy girl because the "dorm area" is full, but I think this was probably the safest place for her. She isn't able to shower for 5 days and can't get any of her "commissary" money until after the first week she is there. She makes friends with many there and they all help each other out...but of course there are always haters out there and she learns to stay away from those inmates with the "yellow wrist band" showing that they are violent. Sleep is difficult on the metal beds, plus she deals with insomnia on a regular basis, she gets her period and has to deal with that, no cigarettes in the California jails - another thing that I am hoping will help her quit her addiction ..she journals every day about her experiences, relishes the mail she receives and hopes to help the friends she has made, while there, after she gets out. On her last day all of her journaling and papers with the inmates names and booking numbers is confiscated as "evidence" and she leaves as she came, with the clothes on her back.

One is released from jail in the middle of the night and there have been rapes and murders of inmates as they leave the jail in the dark of the night as they wait for a ride home. A father who's daughter was murdered after she was released started a program called Lights On with the St. Vincent De Paul Society and they man an RV at the jail exit and provide phone chargers, telephones, pastries and a safe place to wait for your ride. I am so thankful that they are there and she has a safe place to wait at 2:30 in the morning when her wonderful friend who lives nearby will pick her up.

This has been quite the experience for all of us involved and I am hoping, hoping, hoping that my little LoLo will use this as a place to grow from and realize how truly fortunate she is.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Friends in the little town of Hamlin, TX

We weren't sure if we were going to be able to see Bill's friends, Pam & Derrel, in Hamlin who we visited last January. The weekend we had planned to come they were out of town for a reunion (just a week past Bill's!) and we had reservations at a great little park in Austin that we couldn't adjust. Derrel is the only dentist in the county and is quite busy during the week but we had a few days to kill and really could use our teeth cleaned so we just planned to come during the week and see them when we could. Well, let me tell you, I am so glad we came anyway! Aside from the fact that our visiting didn't begin until 5pm and went into the wee hours of the morn', the fact that we had a few days without any plans and that there was absolutely nothing to do in this town was great! It seems as if we have been moving '90 per' since May and we had just come to a screeching halt!
parked in front of one of Derrel & Pam's homes

I am getting caught up on my work, blogging, house cleaning and the laundry. We even put all of our dishes, glasses and silverware through a hot, sanitizing wash in the dishwasher! Happy, happy, joy, joy and the weather is a purrrfect 78 degrees...excuse me while I go sit on a chaise and read, er nap!

Had some time to get my spices out of the dark pantry and out where I can use them. I also put up a small rack on the pantry door for the other ones. I used a metal ruler which I put up with thick double-sided tape and then purchased magnetic spice cans from Bed, Bath & Beyond - it's been working out great and they stay up even while we're driving on some gnarly roads!

We spent the first evening partying in Pam's "hobby house" one of the three homes they own on their block - too much fun!
We're having fun with the hat we brought for Pam's hobby house - it needed some Halloweening!
An evening at the "Man Cave"
Halloween at the Dentist with Dr. Derrel!

An evening of fun in Bebe...

We had four fabulous, fun-filled nights with Pam and Derrel and hope to see them down in Cedar Key this winter!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

back to Santa Fe...

snow coming = must off we went back to Santa Fe where we had not really had time to diverge and conquer, plus one of my really close friends was going to be there, so off we went.

Marni and I go back to a time when we both were raising children in the San Francisco east bay. We quickly became fast friends and even though she and I have both moved all over California we have kept in touch. The last time I saw her was in San Diego, Fall 2010. Serendipity is amazing...I received a mass email from Marni telling us that her youngest daughter, Tori was to appear on Jeopardy that week. In that email she also mentioned that she was going to be in Santa Fe, New Mexico - well, so were we! I quickly emailed her and we set up a date to meet for lunch and to tour the Georgia O'Keeffe museum.

It was great seeing Marni - it continues to amaze me how one can get together with a friend they haven't seen in two years (OR MORE!) and just pick up from the last visit. Marni and I are not even FB friends so we had a lot of catching up to do. She knew me "when" as I did her and I will always treasure her friendship. The museum was interesting and I'm glad I had a chance to see it and tour downtown Santa Fe. Love the town but just a bit too expensive and hoity toity for me; now back in the day....

The highlight of our visit back to Santa Fe has to be the restaurant Mu Du Noodles! Now that Bill and I have gone "plant-based, whole food" eating our focus is finding amazing restaurants where we can easily dine. Mu Du Noodles is our number one favorite find, to date. Not only are all the vegan items on the menu marked with a V but an asterisk on the other items lets you know that they can also be made vegan. We were lucky enough to be waited on by the owner and once he knew that we A) loved sake and be B) were vegan, he basically ordered for us - and we wanted everything because that meant we'd have leftovers!! Not only was the service impeccable but the food was nothing short of spectacular - from presentation to taste, a big fat YUMM!