"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thanksgiving with the Family

Maynard and his supervisors.
My brother, Maynard, hosted Thanksgiving at his house this year.  The first time my siblings had been together for quite a while.  You would think we would have taken a group pic, but we didn't even think of doing that.

The Texans were playing:)

Caden's first Thanksgiving.

I was in charge of making the dressing and the pies.  The pies were made the day before but I was the first one up Thursday to get the dressing ready for the turkey.  The crew showed up early so they could watch the Texans play (and win in a cliffhanger)

If any of my family has more pics, forward them to me!!!

Next stop-Tyler State Park

The drive to Tyler was uneventful but I did stop for gas for the first time - baby steps!  I've decided I much prefer to drive on larger highways or the interstate.  It is hard to pull over to let people pass on two lane roads.

Steaks on the grill.
Its been many years since I have been to Tyler State Park.  It is the first place my kids ever went camping - Doug was about two.  Its very pretty with lots of trees and a lake.  We got all set up and Ann met us there early in the evening - she is another member of the WOWs!!  Ardell and I have decided she and Suzanne will be the group's chefs.  We ate very well all weekend:)

Gourmet eggs.
Saturday we drove into Tyler and did the grand tour.  Ardell and her family lived there for about 10 years.  She was amazed with all the changes.  I, of course, bought more gear for my Casita living.  This time it was an EZ Up shelter.  Yeah, right.  Not so EZ Up but it was EZ Down so I guess that counts for something.  Its going to take some practice for me to be able to put it up by myself.  Also, got some real marshmallow forks so our  s'mores would be easier to make.

Cheers - Mimosas!  Ann and Ardell are under my new EZ-Up.

Sunday after a gourmet breakfast (including Mimosas) we hiked around the lake and just lazed around. Ann fixed another gourmet meal that night and we enjoyed another campfire.

Monday morning we got packed and headed out.  Much easier this time - I had never unhooked:)  I drove back to Houston and went to my brother, Maynard's, house.  I did let him back the Casita up his driveway!

Another fun adventure!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lake Somerville - COE Park

View from my back window in the mornings.
My second camping spot was at Lake Somerville Corp of Engineers Park.  One of the good things about being older - you get a 50% discount.  I like it!  It was about a 4 hour drive to Lake Somerville so it was good towing practice.  This was my first back in experience - Ardell directed me and I did pretty well for my first time.  Two of the men camping nearby complimented me - we won't mention the third guy who stared at me the whole time.

Caden and Leigh Anne
Me, Caden and Doug
This was a really fun week!  Ardell headed to Austin to babysit for a few days but I had lots of company. Barbara (my sister), Doug, Leigh Anne, and Caden all came out to spend the day.  Doug and Leigh Anne stopped in Brenham and got bbq for all of us.

WOW!!!  Women on Wheels (or wine)
Suzanne, Jeannine, Peggy, Ardell

Ardell's Tent - double decker blow up mattress, dresser, night light!

Lots of deer in the park.

Suzanne came out to camp for the week.  Her sister, Jeannine, and I are good friends.  This was her first time to came in her new trailer.  Jeannine came and spent the week with her.  One of my high school buddies, Diana, came for the day.  Ardell came back mid-week and camped in her tent.  Lots of fun and laughter during the week.  We call ourselves the WOW's - women on wheels - or maybe that should be women on wine.  We're not telling.

Those Dwyer Sisters!!!
Friday morning we packed up and headed to Tyler State Park.

Home, Sweet, Home!!!

Jeanne (salesperson) and Victor (trainer) teaching
me all there is to know!!
My sister, Ardell, and I drove to Rice, TX to pick up my Casita on November 6th.  A friend had given me a towing/backing lesson the weekend before (thanks John!!) so I had at least towed once before I picked up my Casita.  Jeanne had all my paperwork done and Victor had it ready for delivery.  Ardell was the super note taker so, hopefully, we wouldn't forget anything!
I'm supposed to do what???

I'm not sure she's got this!
Victor took us all through the Casita and showed us how it all worked, hooked it up to my car and made sure all my lights, etc. were working, and then sent me on my way.  We headed to Navarro Lake with a stop for propane along the way.  I made it!  My first site was a drive through so I didn't have to think about backing up my first time out.

Al, Elaine & Clancy
Right across from us was another Casita -  Al, Elaine and their dog, Clancy.  They were so helpful and taught us a lot.  Al even checked my hitching and showed me how to do it properly.  Navarro Lake was really a pretty spot.  We stayed there 3 nights with trips into Corsicana for camping supplies.  Ardell slept in my "guest room" the first night and then moved into her tent.  I'm sure that means something:)

Hitching up - look at that backing job!
Ready to head out - Lake Somerville here we come!

One last chore!  Dumping was probably the easiest thing I learned.

Monday, November 5, 2012

October in Houston

Checking out the bed for me.
I think he approves!

Its been a busy month in Houston!  I arrived in time to keep my date with my grandson.  Doug had to work and couldn't make the event but Caden and I had fun while Leigh Ann was at her church retreat.  The following week Leigh Ann and Caden went with me to Rice, TX to order a Casita travel trailer.  I am hitting the road!   It is a 17 feet long Spirit Deluxe so is teeny, tiny but my plan is to live in it full time.  Wanderlust has struck!!!!  It will be ready for pick up on November 6th.  In the meantime, there was lots to be done.  A new car capable of towing a trailer, Texas residency again, three trips to the drivers' license bureau before I got that done, etc., etc.
My new TV (tow vehicle) a GMC Acadia
I'll take one!!!

Caden and I on the swing of the
house Leigh Ann and Doug
put a contract on.  He approves!
It hasn't all been work, though.  There have been lots of visits with family and friends.  Somehow, a lot of those involved food:)  I've seen friends from high school days, college days, former neighbors, sewing buddies, siblings, etc., etc.  Doug and I drove by the Foster Creek house where my children grew up and ate Chinese at one of our favorite restaurants.  I've watched Caden while Doug and Leigh Ann went house hunting.  They are in the process of purchasing a house down the street from their former rental in the Heights.

This was Caden's first Halloween.   He had the cutest giraffe costume but he refused to wear the hat even after Doug showed him how it was done.  Just like a guy!!  It was fun seeing him all dressed up, though.

Thanks to my friends and siblings for letting me stay with you!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Leaving Yellowstone!

I ended up leaving Yellowstone on September 29th.  We had more than enough people the last few days, so several of us were given the last couple of days off.  As much fun as I had this summer, it was time and we were all ready for the season to end.   By the time I got the rest of my stuff packed and said my good-byes, it was early afternoon.  I headed back out the east entrance (Cody, WY), and drove through the Wind River Canyon.  The fall colors were so gorgeous that I had to stop several times to enjoy the view.
Wind River Canyon

The drive that day was a little longer than I anticipated, due to booked hotel rooms.  Sunday was a long day of driving through Colorado with 75 mph speed limits all day.   That night I was back in Texas and spent the night in Dalhart.  Monday's drive was pretty boring but I met Ann in Denton late in the afternoon.  As soon as I got there, I stopped in for a mani/pedi!!!  Pure bliss!!!

Robyn and I
My niece, Erin
While I was in Denton, Robyn (another PR friend) met me for lunch - Indian food.  It was great seeing Robyn and catching up on her retirement plans and sewing projects.  My niece, Erin, also met me for barbecue one night!  Ann and I feasted on Mexican food one night and then visited her grandson (and his parents!)  It was a busy, fun time!!!  I continued on to Houston and had a babysitting date with Caden on Saturday.

My time here has been super busy!!!  I am working on my next adventure.  Details soon:)

One Last Visitor!!!

Many of you know I have been sewing since I was a teenager - a lot of years!!  As a member of the online sewing community Pattern Review almost from its inception, I have been fortunate to meet many of my online sewing friends.

Yvonne and Robert
Earlier this summer, I got an email from Yvonne (vonnevo on PR) that she would be visiting Yellowstone NP in September and was planning to come by and meet me.  Such Fun!!!  She and Robert stopped by the store on September 23 - my birthday weekend.  Fortunately, I had the afternoon off so had time to visit.  The three of us spent several hours talking, etc.  I am happy to report to my other PR friends that she is just as nice in person as she is on PR.  Amazingly, we talked very little about sewing.  That was probably a mistake on my part as she is one of the most admired sewists on PR.  After leaving YSNP, they were headed back to California to housesit for another PR friend.  Isn't the internet amazing???  By the way, they live near Brisbane, Australia!!!

Other highlights of the weekend:  As you know, you have no secrets on Facebook!!!  The night before my birthday, I was taking some of my Taiwanese friends out to look for wildlife when they started singing Happy Birthday to me.  They had seen it on FB!!!  When I used my free meal at the "grill", Penny decorated my plate:)

 Jeanne also surprised me with a birthday cake and some nice gifts.  As I have said before, many friendships were made over the summer.

Me with Matthew and Jeanne-
he called us his American "aunties"

Monday, October 8, 2012

Customers say the craziest things!

Over the summer, we have heard some crazy questions and comments.  Most of them give us a laugh       . . . some drive us nuts!!!  Thought I would share here:

1.  What time do they turn Old Faithful off?  Amazingly, this is asked pretty frequently.

2.  How do you tell  male and female buffalo apart?  (A middle aged woman asked me this - her husband looked at her and said "males have dangles")

3.  We sell lots of mugs and other breakables that we always wrap.  Lots of people comment "could you wrap that, we are traveling" or "we're tourists, could you wrap that".   Makes us nuts!  Just once before the season is over, we'd like to say "everyone is a tourist!!".

4.  One day I got a big lecture from a woman on the 1988 fire.  If we had just cleared the underbrush it wouldn't have happened.  I wonder which of the 2,000,000 plus acres she wanted to clear?  In reality, this is a national park and the philosophy is to let nature do its own thing.  Fires are natural and are a good thing for forest growth and health.  There were several fires in the park this summer.

5.  Big signs point to the restrooms, grill, grocery, etc. but most people walk in the front door and ask "do you have a restroom".  One man even asked me "do you have a restroom - a men's restroom"?  There are days we just want to point to the sign and say "duh".

6.  What time do they let the animals out?

7.   In August when the bison were in rut, there was a herd walking down the road in front of the store. This is called a "bison jam" because it stops traffic in all directions.  When they got right in front of the store windows, two decided to mate.  One of the female customers asked a manager if he was going to "put a stop to that".    Nope!!!

Hiking Adventures

Matt (from South Wales)
My last few weeks in Yellowstone were filled with a few more hikes, final visits to my favorite places, fun times with friends, and packing!!  Oh yeah, there was some work in there, too:)

The Canyon area is my favorite place in Yellowstone NP.  Even though I didn't hike as much as I thought I would this summer, I couldn't leave without hiking along the canyon rim and hiking  down Uncle Tom's Trail to the bottom of the falls.

The Canyon - it was smoky.
Standing way too close to the edge for
A co-worker and I hiked along the Canyon Rim for a couple of miles starting at Artists' Point.   Matt is from Wales and is 40 years younger than me.  I only had to remind him of that age difference 2-3 times:)  The views were spectacular and it wasn't a difficult trail - only a few "breathing" breaks.  Even after being in Yellowstone for four months, there are times I need oxygen!!!

Another day I hiked Uncle Tom's Trail to the bottom of the canyon - as they say 300 steps down and 3000 steps back up.  It wasn't as hard as I expected and I was rewarded with a close-up view of the waterfall.

Another canyon view.
Matt and I also hiked to Fairy Falls one day (near Old Faithful) and drove through the Tetons to see the fall foliage.  Another great day filled with amazing views.  Matt saw his first moose of the season in the Tetons.

Several final drives with other co-workers included sitings of a grizzly, elk, mule deer and many bison. One morning I was out early enough to see frost on the bison.  So amazing:)

Sunset on Lake Yellowstone.

Fairy Falls

Lewis Falls

Matt's first moose.

Golden Aspen in The Tetons
Note:  I am in Houston now but still have a couple of blog posts of my summer adventures.  These posts are reminders for me:)  Fast internet and cell service are wonderful things:)  Making plans for my next adventure.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Old Faithful Inn

My sister, Ardell, and good friend, Ann, came for a short visit last week.  We had a great time!  I met up with them Sunday morning at Old Faithful Inn where they had booked a room for Sunday night.  Old Faithful was about to go off so we watched that first thing.  After getting things sorted out and checking into the Inn, we headed over to the Middle Geyser Basin to see Grand Prismatic.
Grand Prismatic
The colors were amazing!!  After walking around this area and seeing the springs and geysers it was time for lunch.  I had brought sack lunches for all of us so we headed to one of the many picnic areas in Yellowstone.  The weather was perfect.
Ann and Ardell

After lunch we headed back to the Inn for  a
much needed nap!  Dinner was a treat - literally!  Ardell called it my "birthday dinner".  We had dinner at the hotel and then Ann and I watched Old Faithful go off from the second story viewing area.  Very nice!

Bull elk in the square at Mammoth.
Monday morning we headed to Fishing Bridge and the Lake Area so they could check into the Lake Hotel.  They met some of my friends and co-workers and did a little shopping before we headed to the Canyon - my favorite part of the park.
They were suitably impressed by the waterfalls and canyon!!!   We spent the rest of the day touring the park - Mammoth Hot Spring, Dunraven Pass, the Roosevelt Arch, etc. before heading to the Lake Hotel for the night.
The three of us at Canyon.

Fire near Dunraven Pass.  Nick, Janet and I
had a picnic at this spot earlier this summer.
Tuesday morning we got an early start and headed to the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole, WY.  We saw a bull elk standing in the middle of a pond - awesome!  After spending the morning in the Grand Tetons, we had lunch in Jackson Hole and played tourist before Ardell and Ann headed back to Salt Lake City.

Great fun having them visit!!