Sunday, February 20, 2011

it has been some time since my last post

Hello to all,

Our internet connections have been sporadic, therefore, we have not had an update recently. 
So, I will try to put a lot into this one.

We said good-bye to Galveston and the people we met on this mission trip.  You always grow attached to those you work with.  We are looking forward to seeing how far John and Denise have gotten next year.

The weather in Dallas and Arkansas had kept us stranded in Houston for four days  AR had over a foot of snow, Dallas had snow and ice – we thought we would stay where we were until it warmed up a bit.  If we were only driving the SUV we would have ventured up, but the ‘Admiral’ RV does not do as well as a car in the ice and snow…it is a moving accident looking for a place to happen.

We visited with my nieces (the two on the right) and their families.  It was great to see them - we spent three hours in the restaurant getting caught up.  I wish they lived closer and we could see each other more often.

Cook family reunion - my brother, Butch's daughters and
their families, including baby Ty
We visited Fluor Daniel, my former employer, and found that most everyone I worked with was either sick, retired or left the company.  Roz and Shirley were out sick, Patti (my previous boss) was in meetings all day and Marilyn was working on a deadline.  We visited with her for a few minutes and went into visit Joannie who worked in the next office to me, until the new CEO came in.

Marilyn - my co-worker at Fluor Daniel
Marilyn is an excellent graphic artist
Had a lovely dinner with my friend, Sally, her husband Donny and daughter, Heather.  Sally is currently working part-time and has been running a few marathons and keeping up with Heather and her soccer team while Donny continues to put in long hours at work.

Ken, Heather, Julie & Sally
Sally & I worked at Texas Children's Hospital together and
have been friends since.

Donny, Heather & Sally Valentine

We were able to connect with a friend I worked with at Fluor and had lost contact with for twelve years, JuJu,.  We caught up on the past twelve years – she has had quite a lot happen in her life since we worked together – including being on the Judge Judy show!

Julie & JuJu - co-workers at Fluor Daniel
A surprising sight are the FEMA trailers that have appeared in the car lots.  I do not understand how they can sell them when they were to be destroyed by FEMA because of the formaldehyde in them.

FEMA trailers - condemned by FEMA
now being sold to the public

As we left on Thursday, the temperature was 28 degrees with a chill factor of 19.  It promised to be colder in Dallas and it was.

Another “word of wisdom” in the RV technology.  After it rains and you know it is going to get cold (below freezing) make sure the awnings have no rain water that has accumulated on them.  The slides have a difficult time coming in with the awning frozen with rain water on them. Fortunately, the awning was in the morning sunlight and after an hour it had thawed enough to fully retract.

We then headed to Dallas (Rockwall) where Ken’s previous secretary, Jackie and her family live.  We visited with them for the evening and head to AR.  Sarah, Jackie’s daughter, is due to have her baby in two weeks.  So preparations are being made for an additional house guest.  As of this writing, Sarah had her baby a couple of days after we left.  Jackie and Steve were thankful that it didn’t happen during the last snow storm.
My niece, Aly, called to make sure Ken and I had our flu shots (I do, Ken doesn’t).  Their two year old (Airyãnnã) was running a temperature of 105.5 and the doctor wanted to make sure anyone over 60 was aware of the dangers.  The only thing Airyãnnã had besides the temperature was an enormous appetite and very cranky.  They have put her on medicine to bring down the temperature.

We arrived in AR and had a terrific time with my niece and her husband and our great-niece and great-nephews.  We went to a beauty pageant with Airyãnnã - even though she was not feeling good, she wanted to go.  She loves to dress up.  Her brothers are troopers too and sit through the pageant.  They are so proud of their sister.  We went to a valentine’s party in both boys’ class and helped serve the ‘goodies’ and then we sent them home to their parents all with a ‘sugar high’.  Both boys (and I) wore our wild, tie-dyed shirts from Asbury's Music Camp - they love those shirts.

Airyanna getting her hair
done before the pageant

Airyanna with her
Valentine's dress in
the pageant
 Ken and I played basketball with Austin.  I was beating Austin and one of his friends was sitting watching us and said:  “Austin, your grandmother is beating you!”  Ken informed him I was his great aunt and the little boy said, “She has white hair like a grandmother”.  Anyway, I beat Austin at basketball.  Ken did too.   Ken took Airyãnnã and her puppy, Hercules, for a bike ride and came back exhausted.  Besides, pulling a small trailer behind his bike that weighed about 30 pounds and then Airyãnnã who weighed 36 pounds, pedaling up hills – he was dragging.  Ken enjoyed it.

Airyanna & Hercules

Ken bicycling/towing
Airyanna & Hercules

I surprised Aly with a scrapbook
of all her baby pictures - Michael,
her husband is looking on

Ken & Airyanna (she loves her
Uncle "Kenny")

Austin playing cards with me

Keifer wearing our Music
Camp t-shirt which he

Unhappily, we left AR and headed to the Davis Mountains where we will spend a couple of days and then visit with a friend from our church (Kathie Shappeck) in CA before we meet up with our son, Tim and his wife, Kat.

It was so desolate in the Davis Mountains/Big Bend Area.  There is actually a college here in Alpine, Sul Ross State University.   Surprising.

We stopped at the Marfa Mystery light sighting point.  It is a famous area where they cannot seem to explain mystery lights the occur occasionally.  Many theories are:  swamp gas, phosphorescent mineral displays, ball lightning, UFO’s or secret chemicals left by the US Army or even spirits of Apache ancestors.  Let your mind wander.  We did, however, see that the US Airforce in Marfa had a research stations outside the city limits.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

We spent the day at MacDonald Observatory, one of the major astronomical research facilities in the world.  We explored the “decoding starlight” exhibits, various astronomical presentations, the solar viewing program where we viewed sunspots, flares and much more. 
We then took the guided tour where we were able to view the research telescopes up close.  I even was able to ‘move’ the 104” telescope – such power moving 11 tons of equipment with the touch of a finger.

31" mirrored telescope that we
were able to maneuver.
Our day concluded with a “Star Party” where we were able to view various stars, constellations, planets and much more not visible to naked eye through various sizes of telescopes.  Also, the space station went whizzing by.  It was quite awesome even though the moon was a full moon.

We will be leaving the Davis Mountains, TX on Sunday to head to AZ and CA and visit with Judy, Kathie & and our son and his wife.

We were driving through El Paso, TX and into NM were we encountered quite treacherous driving…dust storms and winds that could move the RV into another lane.

Temperatures when we were in the Davis Mountains were in the mid 80's.  We are in Willcox, AZ and it is in the 50's.

Stay safe and warm,
Julie & Ken


Blogger Sallilou said...

Looks like you are having a wonderful time! The weather here could use some improvement too!! Tonite is a 5 to 8 inch snow night and tomorrow night 2 to 4.
See what your missing?!
Be safe

6:49 PM  

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