20160831

Hump Day Trivia is Fun -- Wed, 8/31/16



Our parents were married in 1939.  Some of you might enjoy reading a little about who designed their 1939 Toastmaster Toaster. The toaster is Model 1B9 made by the McGraw Electric Company.  We know that a few of these vintage toasters are still working (and doing a better job than the new ones) and can be found on eBay for varying prices -- I saw one for $130.  Click here to read about designer Jean Otis Reinecke.

My brother, Rob, came up with a couple of interesting tidbits:  The 1B9 was the first toaster that used double chrome plating and it was the first year a toaster had rounded corners and top. It was the last Toastmaster model that used a clock movement for a timer.  This little toaster makes a tick-tick-ticking sound as it browns the bread -- we wondered, but didn't know it was a clock timer!

77 years later, and the old toaster is still ticking and toasting bread in Rob's, house.  I used it this morning ... ❤ ❤

20160828

Another week rolls by ... Sunday, Aug 28, 2016


Our Mobile AL stay has extended to three weeks now, three very productive, and precious, weeks. Released from the hospital last Monday, with outpatient radiation continuing, Rob's cancer seems to be responding to the radiation blasts.   His house is just about ready to put on the market, and after a couple more major items are taken care of this week, we'll get a realtor involved.


Manatee Mailbox - cute.

Last Sunday, Jimmy and I got out early for an hour's walk along Dog River.  Except for our clothes sticking to us because of the muggy heat, we enjoyed being out, at least initially.  But by the time we returned to Rob's house, we were breathless and drenched in sweat.


Towering clouds reflecting in Dog River build early, usually leading to afternoon thunder-boomers.


We disturbed a raccoon family running through someone's front yard, Mom and her four young'uns.  This little guy climbed a tree and was left behind.  But, not for long -- he dropped to the ground and scampered after the others.  Nice of it to pose prettily for a photo op before it ran away.


Mandevilla vines naturally twine and are often found encircling rural mailbox posts.  Their scent is very sweet and their brilliant flowers add a real tropical flair to the overall green landscape.  I think they're gorgeous.


Nannie left her flooded and all-but-gutted Baton Rouge home for a short visit to see Rob.  It was like "old home week" with the three siblings and Jimmy, and we had such a good time together.  We were all together in June, but so much has happened in the meantime, it feels like a lifetime ago.


Rob had saved coins in coffee cans.  No bank or credit union accepts unrolled coins, so we spent part of Saturday rollin', rollin', rollin'!  Four pairs of hands got the job done handily.  Remind me to never save coins.


As Jimmy and I are trying to get Rob's house shipshape, Nannie showed up with boxes of books and CD's and curtains to wash and a microwave to store.  These were books that didn't get wet in the flood, but it was time to go through them and cull out the unwanted ones.  Right now space is at a premium.  Till their home is put back together, the few things they were able to save have to be stored somewhere that's air conditioned.  She took most of her things back to Baton Rouge today to store at a friend's high-and-dry home.  She plans to return here tomorrow or Tuesday.  There isn't much she can do at her house till the wood (studs) is certified "dry."  (sorry I lopped off yer head, Nannie!)


The four of us took time out Saturday night to eat a nice dinner at Olive Garden (nobody wanted to cook).  We even brought home a portion of Nannie's lasagna, which made a fine addition to this evening's meal.  My chicken marsala is in the foreground; it was very yummy.

Before Nannie left this morning, we did a lot of brainstorming, formulating options and making decisions.  With much of the family pulling together, it's all falling into place, and a lot easier than trying to go it alone.

20160821

When it rains ... August 2016


Jimmy and I were home less than two weeks from our summer family reunion trip in Boston when we heard from my youngest brother, Rob (age 59), that his health had been seriously compromised.  This was mind-boggling to everyone in the family, including him, since he'd been the picture of health in June, riding his bike and playing sports with the young'uns. Each of us cried, "Impossible!"  Sad to say, it was true.

He lives in Mobile, Alabama by himself, but now a hand or, better yet, four hands, would be helpful.  Jimmy and I booked one-way tickets to Mobile and arrived Aug 7th -- one-way because we didn't know how long we'd be needed.  We've been here two weeks today.  He's been in and out of the hospital during these two weeks (and is currently in), but radiation treatments have begun, and we're hoping he'll be able to come home again soon.  We're still not sure how long we'll stick around ... wait and see.  We're working on readying his home to sell, if, in fact, that's what's necessary.

After hearing his news, our sister, Nannie, and Bil (then in Maine, on their own summer trip) were on their way to Mobile, when an intense low pressure system parked over southern Louisiana, and word came to them on Aug 13th that the river behind their place had risen to record levels, FLOODING their house!  They'd lived in this house since 1980 and the river had never come close to their house.  Their small community of Watson LA, received 31.39" of rain in three days from this system, bringing disaster to homes in eight parishes (counties).  Disaster and heartache.  You've probably seen the images.  You can imagine receiving this news on top of all the other bad news.  They pointed their camper toward Louisiana.

What are the chances of two brothers being stricken within a couple of months, and then Nannie's home with two feet of water inside?  This has not been a particularly stellar year for our family, right from the first of the year.  To quote my Boston sis-in-law, Anne, "It's a good thing we can't see the future or we would never enjoy the present day. Who would have thought all this would happen when you all were here in Boston enjoying your summer and traveling the country. The first shock was Rus, then Rob and then Mother Nature had to butt in."

The family is coping, and we are resilient, but the Louisiana disaster added complications to, well, everything.  It'll be months before they'll be able to reoccupy their home (but they're very grateful to have their camper to live in meantime!).  How this all plays out is a mystery right now.

Since Mobile is only a few hours from Baton Rouge (Watson) via I-10, Jimmy and I did a (long) day trip to my sister's yesterday, mainly for hugs and moral support, and to see how it all looked.  While living in Tallahassee, he and I volunteered one weekend for home cleanups in Biloxi (or was it Gulfport?) MS after Hurricane Katrina, so we had a fair idea what to expect.  Stuff heaped on the grass, ready for the dump.  Stuff is just that: stuff, and it can be replaced, but when it's yours, it hurts. It hurts more to lose the treasures.


All of it ruined by muddy Amite River water, and going to the dump.


Down to bare studs to begin all over again.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, tree, house and outdoor

Nannie, me, and friend, Angie.

So, to finish the header ... sometimes it floods.  Life is always good, but circumstances can really suck sometimes.

20160805

When it's over, it's over. Friday, Aug 5, 2016


Jimmy and I have been at home in Nevada City for close to two weeks, and we have been as busy as those proverbial bees, possibly busier.  I discovered these pictures in my camera last Sunday and wanted to share them with you.  All, except the last two, were taken from Tergel as she cruised along, and because every bug in a sixteen-mile radius had smooshed themselves on her windows, oh-my-gosh, those windows were a mess.  Sorry.  But, the scenery was worth the try.


We left Livingston, Montana on Friday, 7/22.  From Bozeman, we followed the scenic Gallatin River south to West Yellowstone, a most stellar drive, though we both wished for turnouts on the west side (river side) of the road.   It would have been nice to pull in to let the speed jockeys zoom by, and we could have taken our time to admire the surroundings without feeling the hot breath of a SUV or pick-up truck on our necks.  Heck, we also wished we could drop a fishing line in the Gallatin -- we know there's trout in them-thar waters!


Rafting must be good on the swift Gallatin.
Aside from those unused (above), we spied plenty of colorful rafts in the water.




This picture makes my eyes crazy.  If it looks fuzzy, it is, because you're looking at a lot of dead trees obscuring the rocks.  Looking at, but not really seeing -- that's what makes it fuzzy.  Bark beetle damage in some areas we've been to is extensive.  




We made our way into volcanic territory in Idaho, zipping past weird piles of black rock, dotted with sagebrush ...


... and descended from mountainous terrain to ranch lands.


With a quick shot of the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls from Perrine Memorial Bridge on Hwy 93.


On Saturday, the 23rd, we left any pretense of trees altogether, dipping into Nevada's dry, rocky and barren landscape, traveling on I-80.  Still, there's lots to look at, I think.  These jumbled-up rocks appear like they could tump right over, but you know it ain't gonna happen.


I always wonder (and usually voice it) if Tergel will fit inside these tunnels.  I think I duck my head, too!  Well, you see I'm typing this post, so you know Tergel fit and we made it home safely.   The yellow sign declares that the tunnel may be icy if lights are flashing.  It was not icy.  Think HOT -- it's summer!


Sophie looks perky! 

Son and DiL, Matt and Jenny, came up from Sacramento last Sunday, the last day of July.  Lucky them, they picked the coolest day of the week.  We've had scorching, blistering temps since our return to NorCal.  Today (8/5) is the first day that Nevada City hasn't been over 90, and most of those were in the 98 degree range!  Seriously dislike!


Maggie, the photo-bomber!

I tallied up some numbers the other day, it being too hot to go outside.  In our ten weeks on the road, we put 7,307 miles on Tergel, to Boston and back.  That's a bunch of miles!  Tergel consumed 932 gallons of gas, for a total cost of $2,052, at an average price of $2.24/ppg.  Thus is much, much better than previous years when gas prices hovered around three bucks/gallon and, worse, when gas prices actually averaged over $3.50/gallon!

Circumstances, as well as hot weather dictated we park in campgrounds where we had electric hookups after temperatures soared.  We really enjoyed our Harvest Hosts stays and plan to use them much of the time when we can.  It's been our experience that they're located in interesting places and/or feature intriguing sights.  They also have HH sites in Canada, which we hope to check out next year.

So, that's the deal.  It's over.