Sunday, October 25, 2009

More relatives and lots of music.

So what happened next, Carolyn?

Funny you should ask.

We drove through Indiana to General Butler State Park in Kentucky. Again, we arrived after dark. This was not the plan. No one who drives an RV will say this is a good idea. It happens pretty much every time for us. I'm practiced at calling RV parks and saying, "We'll be arriving late . . . is that okay?" They're all really nice about it. But no one comes in after us.

Before we got to the park, we went to Erin's house. Erin is Ross's niece. Her husband Robbie was in South Carolina -- but we got to visit with her, her cute kid Ethan, her sister Tara, along with Tara's cute kid Maddie, and their mom, Diana.

Between Erin's house and General Butler, we drove on the craziest, windiest road in Kentucky. We had split up again -- this time Jane Honda and I were following. Ross and I have radios, so we can communicate . . . I kept telling him I thought 25 mph was plenty fast. Yikes!

Just another adventure!

We met all the same relatives for dinner the next night -- plus Mike, Tara's husband. What a nice bunch of people!

Our next stop was James Powell's house -- Ross's brother-in-law. We stayed in Renfro Valley, Kentucky, that night. No more adventures. (But don't get complacent. Just sayin'.)

We drove to Ross's mom's house in the far northeast Tennesee. We didn't have reservations anywhere, because Butler, Tennessee, isn't near anything -- certainly not an RV park.

The plan was to park in her front yard. (Seems a little odd, doesn't it? Yeah. Hold that thought.)

We unhitched Jane at the bottom of her hill. I'm following Ross. (Feeling a sense of forboding yet? Hearing some horror movie music here?)

He radioed me: "I see a stake in the neighbor's yard. But I'm going in."

The stake was not a problem.

The wet ground however . . . was.

Imagine my dismay, as I watched the back wheels spin in the mud, getting deeper in the mud. I didn't even see the left front tire sink up to the hubcap. Oy.

The good news was that it took only 45 minutes for the guy to come and winch us out. And it was only about $150. Have I mentioned our personal connection to the economic stimulus program? We drive down the road throwing twenties out the window.

AFter that, we parked on the street.

Other than that, it was a pleasant few days in Butler.

Next came the musical portion of our trip. First Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry. Not as corny as it sounds. Even though we're not that into country music.

Then Memphis. We stayed at the Graceland RV Park, just behind the Heartbreak Hotel. Seriously. The Jungle Room isn't as tacky as it sounds.

We visited Beale Street to listen to blues music. That was definitely as fun as it sounds. I could go back there real soon.

We finally drove out of the rain in Oklahoma, on our way to Ross's brother Jack's house in Lawton. Which is where we are now!

I should mention that da boyz have been real troopers through all of this. They are good with being left in the RV when we go out. They were even fine with being left in Jane Honda when we make quick trips to the store or go out to eat when the RV was in the shop.

Which is a good thing, since we bought this RV for them.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Aaah. That's better.

I left you hanging with that last post, didn't I? All gloom and doom and more than a dash of self-pity.

Well, my batteries are recharged (pun intended) and life is better now that we finally got out of Montana.

We left Montana a couple of weeks ago . . . but I still get shivers thinking about how much that state tried to get us to stay. Bad luck and bad weather made us wonder if we should just tuck our tails between our legs and turn back.

The nice people in Missoula fixed our coolant leak and put in a new alternator -- but it took a couple days and we got the RV back at 5 p.m. We had to race to get to Bozeman. We unhitched Jane Honda and I drove, too, so we could go faster. With a tow car, you're not supposed to exceed 65 mph. We got to the nice RV park very late. It was freezing cold (remember, bad weather) with snow on the ground.

We saw a couple of deer on our way out, in the dark, early next morning. We felt pretty confident we were finally over the hump. And we made it all the way to lunch! We stopped for half an hour at the Glendive Pizza Pit (not as glamorous as it sounds). When we got back to the RV, the alternator clearly wasn't working like it should. I got on Google and my cell phone and found a place one exit behind us that said they could help.

Our new alternator was bad.

Four hours and several hundred dollars later (alternators are more expensive in Glendive than in Missoula), we were racing to Bismarck. Again, Jane Honda, the dogs and I were in the lead. Ross and Destiny were close behind.

We got there around midnight. Ross was setting up in the dark when something else went wonky with our electricity.

Remember my previous posts? 4. There's something else weird wrong with our electrical system, so the coach battery isn't working either.

And, even before that . . .
After a couple of hours of sitting around, playing on the computer, watching TV . . . the lights started to fade and the heat went off. The outlets weren't affected, though. Weird, huh?

Yeah, that was still going on. But until then, it was a minor inconvenience compared to alternators going out. So we were used to using battery-operated lanterns at night and a space heater.

Now we were in Bismarck at midnight and the whole electrical system seemed to go kaflooey. Ross tried all kinds of things to restart the "new and improved" invertor/convertor, but nothing worked. We ended up shoving a long extension cord through the window to operate the space heater. And we slept just fine under our two sleeping bags. (You have to admit, Ross is prepared for just about anything!)

The next day, October 8, we met our friend Dale Ahlquist in Aberdeen, South Dakota, around lunchtime. We were now officially back on schedule! Woohoo! We drove to Dale's house in Minnesota and had a wonderful time seeing his family again. We parked the big rig right in his cul-de-sac -- and that extension cord came in handy again.

Meanwhile, I had delegated a research project to my brother in Racine. Find us someone who can repair RV electrical systems! And he did.

We got to Racine on October 9 -- our birthday -- and dropped Destiny off for another round of repairs. Randy graciously let us stay at his house and we took full advantage of his washer and dryer, among other things.

It was great to see the family. I even went out with a friend from high school. We connected again on Facebook after mumblemumble years.

They finally cured Destiny of her electrical woes. It was an installation error with the new system. Now everything is running perfectly. Pretty much. At least with the new inverter/converter. We've had some small issues. The new macerator stopped working a couple days ago. Turns out the ground wire came loose. The water pump also stopped. Again, I think it was another loose connection.

Bouncing along all these roads does tend to shake things up.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I admit that I am powerless.

When you hit bottom, there's no place to go but up. We're now at 3,200 feet here in Missoula. I guess that means things are looking up.

The bottom? Yesterday, we found ourselves at the side of a country road with a dead RV, a dead tow car and no cell service.

Ross can explain better than I what happened, but here's how I understand it.

1. We had a coolant leak, causing the RV to overheat.
2. The leak shorted out the alternator, so the chassis batteries weren't getting charged.
3. Because the batteries were dead, we couldn't start the generator.
4. There's something else weird wrong with our electrical system, so the coach battery isn't working either. (Don't know why, yet.)
5. I accidentally left the fan on in the car all day while it was being towed, so its battery died, too. (Lesson #2: learned.)
6. There's perfectly good cell service in St. Regis, Montana -- but not three miles away at Exit 37.

Ross thought he was going to have to walk those three miles back to St. Regis -- but, fortunately, the only car we saw on that road we pulled off on, stopped to jump-start the Honda. That's when things started looking better.

We called the RV towing service we signed up for and they sent out Sam, who got the generator started on Destiny. Then we made a little caravan to Missoula with me and the dogs in front in the Honda, Ross driving Destiny in the middle, and Sam the tow truck guy in the back -- for moral support. And he came from Missoula anyway. We did need him along the way, so thank goodness.

We stayed overnight at Jellystone RV Park. Yes. Really. It's not as glamorous as it sounds.

The RV towing people found us a repair place and they're working on Destiny now. We're staying at the La Quinta.

I was able to spend all day working -- first at a restaurant with wi-fi and now here at the hotel. So at least I got some stuff done!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nothing is ever easy.

My friend Martha says I've used up all my sympathy points, but -- because I brag about the fun parts -- I ought to be honest about the difficulties of this trip, too. Don't you think so?

No one should be surprised that getting ready to leave was exhausting. I have no one to blame but myself for that. I've been collecting things (books, wine and other fun stuff) forever. And I put off the inevitable for too long. Packing (and tossing out and giving away) took waaaaaaay too long.

As mentioned before, we had our RV fixed up. You kind of hope after all that time and money everything would be perfect.

Yesterday, we were ready to go at 10 a.m. That's only an hour late, which is pretty good for us. (Don't remind me. I know we had an extra 24 hours.) When Ross tried to start the engine, it wouldn't go. Dead battery. I guess neither of us heard we were supposed to turn off the inverter when not plugged into "shore power." (D'oh!) We had to call AAA, so we didn't leave until noon.

Lesson learned.

Last night, we pulled into our RV park, unhitched Jane (Jane Honda. Get it?), and settled in. After a couple of hours of sitting around, playing on the computer, watching TV . . . the lights started to fade and the heat went off. The outlets weren't affected, though. Weird, huh?

So, today, Ross had to call a guy to come out and see if he could see what was wrong. That meant Ross didn't come with the rest of us this morning and left after lunch to come back to meet the guy. So, he missed out on some of the fun. Plus, the guy was just as confused as we were. So it's still not fixed.

It's not huge -- since, we still have computer access and we have lanterns. But it's another awkward thing to deal with.

We're figuring it out as we go along. Sometimes stuff catches us by surprise.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Still here.

Just couldn't get it all done in order to leave this morning. In fact, we're still not completely there -- but we will be by about 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. So . . . a day late and a peso short, I guess.

We picked up Destiny on Monday, with all her new equipment and facelift and everything and parked her in a storage lot. On Tuesday, Ross braved driving her through the narrow streets of Wallingford and parked in front of our neighbor's house where there's a Y in the road and it's a bit wider. (Lola graciously moved her car around the corner for a couple of days.) So now we have our next home parked by our current home. That makes moving stuff a little bit easier.

We also have a storage pod parked in back. If you're not familiar with them, it's a pretty cool idea. It's a big box they bring to your door. You can put anything you want in it -- furniture, boxes, whatever. Keep it as long as you want. Call them when you want them to pick it up and they'll bring it to their warehouse and store it until you call and say, "Bring it back."

We've had it for months, it seems. They're coming to get it on Saturday. They say you don't even have to be careful about balancing the load. They pick it up from the top or something. Which is great. Because we loaded all the books first. Piled to the ceiling.

These last few days, we've had all of these omigosh! moments. Omigosh, I have to cancel Comcast! Will we still have the same email address? Omigosh, I need to transfer our phone number to Vonage. Will they let us keep it? Omigosh, I have to change our address with everyone. How does that work?

I think we've remembered most of the important stuff. If not, they'll have to forgive us.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Mail has been my life and my livelihood since . . . who can count that high. Today I scared myself by turning in the wackiest change-of-address ever.

Last year, when we started this Mexico experiment, I had a heck of a time adding our names to the "Do Not Mail" list. I don't know if I've publicly confessed this before. It felt really disloyal and wrong.

The next step was to go to a Web site called "Catalog Choice." Every catalog I got, I went online and said, "Don't mail this to me anymore." It was strange.

But the weirdest was signing up for Earth Class Mail. I am forwarding all our mail to a new address: 93 S. Jackson St., #13711, Seattle, WA 98104.

It's a real address, but not really. I don't live there, but it's now my mailing address. They'll get my mail, scan it and email me the scan. If I don't care about it, I'll tell them to recycle it. If I want to know what's in the envelope, I'll tell them to open and scan it. If I want it sent to me, I'll have to figure out where they can send it.

Instead of sorting your mail over the recycle bin, you do it online.

This whole process started a while ago. Hardly anybody mails me anything really interesting anymore. My Mom is online. So is the rest of my family. I've already asked every biller with the technology to send my bills straight to my bank, where I handle them online.

I feel like I owe a lot to the US Postal Service and now I'm pulling the last rug out from under them.

Things change.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Getting ready to get ready.

Since you last heard from me, we've been (1) enjoying Seattle's most spectacular summer ever and (2) fixing up the house to sell it.

That's really about it.

Summer was so wonderful that we really didn't get to the whole house thing until far too late. But we finally did get the place pretty enough to list it a week and a half ago. There have already been three open houses and another one is coming up in an hour. There's nothing really to do but wait for that one hour to pass . . . so I thought it was the right time to relaunch this wacky blog.

Destiny, our RV and home for the month of October, has been in the shop for weeks and weeks. She needed some extensive body work. The other stuff required ordering parts. And since we weren't going to go on the road until October 1, the deadline for getting her back slipped out to tomorrow.

That means we haven't had her available for loading yet. We'll be doing that Tuesday and Wednesday.

Yeah. That's pretty insane. We (and by "we," I mean Ross) are going to be tired before we start. But we have a lovely itinerary planned across these United States. We'll be visiting family and friends along the way. We'll be taking our time. And that will be a little different, too, from many of our past trips.

We'll be hauling the Honda behind us. They say that doesn't make an enormous difference in how you drive -- except you can never, ever back up without unhitching the car first.

And, of course, the dogs will be riding with us -- soaking up the scenery, napping in the sunshine, chatting up the people at the rest stops.

I sure hope the house sells quickly!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hot and sunny. Must be Mexico!

We got in, courtesy of Continental Airlines, quite late last night. The airport was pretty empty and the people who were there were wearing surgical masks. They call them tapabocas (mouth-covers). Learned that in the New York Times.

We always have a little guessing game about what won't be working when we get here. It takes a couple days to work all the kinks out. This time, Anna (the cleaning woman who hides from me) had forgotten (?) to clean the main bathroom and Ross's study. Dust and cucarachas everywhere. Yuk. But the rest of the house looks pretty good. Kind of a strange choice she made.

Also, no hot water this morning. We'd run out of LPG. That's easily solved, except that it's impossible to relight the pilot on the water heater. I hope Ross figures it out by tomorrow. I don't want another chilly shower.

Since we had no food in the house, we walked up to Casa de Waffle this morning for breakfast. No, I don't eat the waffles. Then we took the long way home, walking up to the town square before coming back. I got a blister, but it could have been worse if Ross hadn't thought to lend me his socks!

Getting used to being 5000 feet above sea level is tougher than it sounds, so I needed an after-breakfast nap after all that walking.

After lunch, we went grocery shopping. We had a few things on our list that we couldn't find at our usual grocery store, so we went to Walmart. (Don't judge me!) And, as we were wandering the aisles, Ross noticed a kid with a Wallingford Wurst Festival T-shirt. That's our Seattle neighborhood annual sausage festival. The whole family was with him -- and they live within a mile of us in Seattle. Crazy, huh?

I imagine they're happy to be soaking up some sunshine, too.

Monday, April 6, 2009


In case you wondered, all four of us made it home safe and sound.

I still haven't uploaded pics, but that's the next thing to do.

We got to visit with Karin, Mike and Corey in Eugene on Saturday. We pulled into Seattle on a sunny, warm Sunday. (Wait . . . Seattle? Warm in April??)

Then it was all filing taxes and back to work and two-walks-per-day normality today.

But still sunny!

Friday, April 3, 2009


We took da boyz on a two-hour walk today in Patrick's Point State Park. They weren't allowed on the trails or on the beach . . . so we stuck to the roads. (Discrimination against fuzzy people with tails!)

I hope to have photos to share soon.

The walk seemed to wear them out completely. We haven't seen them since we got back nearly five hours ago.

Ross is about to start cooking dinner, so that might rouse them.

Speaking of cooking. I've shared the cooking duties a bit more than usual. My first dinner was black bean burritos and, if I do say so, they were maaahvelous. Last night, I made "tuna hot dish" from the same RV cookbook and it was, if not a complete disaster, generously you could give it a 4 out of 10.

Why an RV cookbook? I'm not sure. Maybe these recipes use fewer ingredients. They give you shopping lists for three day of meals. I didn't quite realize that you can be a little trapped in a big vehicle like this. You pull into the RV campground and get all attached, then realize you don't have ketchup. Now what?

That's why our next purchase is going to be a car we can tow.

Yes, we're going to sell the Prius. >sniff!<

Reason one is that it can't be towed unless all four wheels are off the ground. Reason two is that they don't sell them in Mexico, so we're pretty certain they don't know how to service them.

We're thinking about a Honda Fit or a Smartcar. Does anyone know anything about either of these?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


We spent today on the road and arrived in late afternoon on the northern coast of California.

We saw some very pretty countryside along the way.

This adventure has reminded me of going on a cruise . . . it helps to enjoy the days at sea as much as the shore excursions. The dogs do! I think they really like being on the road.

Unlike a cruise, we don't have a room steward to clean up after us. But I'm learning to clean up pretty quickly. With such a small space -- and with everything needing to be put away before you get moving -- you can't let things pile up.

Tomorrow, a shore excursion.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We're officially defensive. Drivers, that is.

We passed! In fact, Frank said he thought he could train Ross to drive a tanker in about a week. I need some practice before I get that kind of praise. But I did fine.

We'll get certificates to prove we have the ability to get from point A to point B without endangering life and limb.

Now I want to do this full time. It really is pretty cool. We're forced to simplify our lives a little. (Although we can always find ways to complicate things . . . just like I can always find ways to add calories to whatever I eat.)

Tomorrow we head up to the coast of California, near Trinidad Bay, and hang out there for a day or two.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Masters of our Destiny.

Well, that wasn't so hard.

We had our first lesson today. Our last lesson is tomorrow. Frank, our instructor, was sweet. We both did well.

I'm glad to have had the opportunity to learn to brake and make turns in a controlled environment -- and after that I drove through some windy hill country on a two-lane road, through a small town (only driving over one curb -- oops!) and on the freeway.

I am MUCH more confident now that I can deal with this huge thing. And it was fun! I backed up around orange cones . . . and didn't knock any of them over. Who knew?

Da boyz were so confident in my abilities, in fact, that they fell asleep while I was driving.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Destiny on vacation.

We've been spending the last month fixing up the RV and getting ready to take her on a real road trip. And now we're finally doing it!

We're on our way to RV driving school in northern California. In case you're wondering how we're driving it without knowing how . . . that's not exactly what driving school is about. You don't need a special license or anything. Everyone we've talked to and every book we've read (you can imagine how many of those) says anyone who can drive can figure out how to maneuver an RV (even a big one like ours) pretty quickly, and get comfortable in just a few hours.

And, in fact, Ross has done great. He confesses to driving over a few curbs in Phoenix when we first picked her up -- but I was driving the rental car in front of him and didn't see it happen.

This is more like taking a defensive driving class. And I'm not willing to get behind the wheel until I'm in a big parking lot with nothing to hit and a professional trainer sitting next to me. Just a complete lack of confidence. This thing is HUGE!

So this is more of a safety thing than a necessity.

We started out yesterday about an hour and a half late. (Hey, this is our first trip with the dogs. It took some real effort to load everything without our escape artists running loose.)

Da boyz figured out how to get comfortable quickly. Bob settled on my lap and Slick found an upholstered chair to curl up in. So, while the wheels were moving, it really was like a big version of our Mexico road trip in the Tundra. They enjoy being with us all day.

We stopped at a Walmart along the way for some supplies -- mostly food. We decided to experiment with leaving the dogs alone. They were calm when we got back and nothing had been chewed, so it looks like we're going to be able to handle it if we go out to eat or something. Yay.

I made dinner on our little stove last night. Everything is sort of Barbie-size. We have a double sink, but each side barely holds a plate.

Eating with dogs in the RV is a bit of a challenge because the dinette table is a lot more accessible than our dining room table at home. The benches allow them to jump up next to us. They really don't know how to stay off furniture. But we finally persuaded them to stay on the floor.

And we all managed to find our own space on the queen-size bed to settle in. It helped that da boyz were exhausted.

Today we're staying at the RV park on the Rogue River in Grants Pass, Oregon. The RV is backed up right to the river. I'm hoping it warms up a little this afternoon so we can take a walk along it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On the road.

We're about to leave Chowchilla, California. We picked up "Our Destiny" on Friday and have been getting to know her ever since.

Some things aren't working . . . but it's likely because we don't understand everything yet. There was a lot of documentation of appliances, etc., but nothing about running the actual motor home. We're figuring out things as we go. We have an appointment to get it completely checked out in Seattle on Monday, along with an orientation. We're really looking forward to having some mysteries resolved!

We're meeting Karin, Mike and Corey in Eugene tonight. I'll write again soon!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We bought an RV on eBay!

Woohoo! We won! We won!

We won the right to spend thousands of dollars on this 1997 RV. We need to go to Phoenix to pick it up . . . but such a deal.

Coo-ba Libre

Yesterday, Ross and I went RV shopping. All the RVs for sale in the whole world are in Fife, Washington -- between here and Tacoma on I-5.

On the way there, we stopped at a chain restaurant called Bahama Breeze. They were playing calypso music, which reminded me of Harry Belafonte, which reminded me of our music "system" when I was a kid.

I don't know what to call that particular piece of furniture. It had a big radio that squealed between stations. We typically heard this squawk on Sunday mornings, while Daddy was tuning in Dr. DeHaan on the Radio Bible Class from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

We called it "The Radio," but I'm pretty sure there was also a record player in it. The records my parents played included Harry Belafonte (Day-O, aka The Banana Boat Song), Victor Borge (phonetic punctuation) and The Nutcracker Suite. I still have this particular one. I stole it when I got my own record player that could play LPs -- and took it with me to college and beyond. When I was small, I'd dance around the house to the music all year long. I had no idea it was meant to be a Christmas thing. I think I had a little girl crush on the beautiful blonde woman on the album cover.

What other records did my parents own? I don't remember. Maybe a sibling can help me out with this.

The cabinet that held these wonders was huge (or, anyway, it's huge in my memory). If I had been naughty and was told to stand in the corner, the corner made by The Radio and the wall was the one I stood in. So that means it was taller than I was.

The Radio was a symbol of both delight and terror. Yeah, I'm exaggerating again. I was embarrassed by having to stand in the corner, but not terrified.

The music we heard yesterday also reminded me of Lucy and Desi. We recently watched The Long, Long Trailer and it's still very funny. He's very Coo-ban.

Which brings us back to to the whole RV shopping trip. We learned a few things. I learned how much I dislike being sold. It's a little distressing to realize how much I prefer to buy things from people I like. I wish I could be more rational than that. Better yet is buying from no one in particular -- by which I mean "on the Internet." So we're putting in a bid on an RV on eBay today. If it works, we'll get a much better deal, without the aggravation of working with a salesperson.

Best of all would be not having to go halfway to Coo-ba to pick it up. But that's a trade-off I'm willing to make.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

You've got to have friends

My lonely post has been top of the list for toooooooo long. I get it. I just haven't had a whole lot more to say. And Ross is gone again. He left on Monday and won't be back for another week.

The good news is that he will be bringing both his parents back to their home before he returns. His dad has been through a course of radiation and will be allowed back home. And his mom is lucid and gaining weight and strength. They say she can leave the nursing home late next week. Ross will get her settled in and come back here on Saturday or Sunday.

It's pretty great -- and surprising -- that they've both made such a recovery.

When last I wrote . . . I told you about ordering pizza for the Friday night group. Well, they deserve better than that. So I cooked! (I wasn't entirely sure my cooking would be better than Pizza Hut, but I was willing to try.)

Since I don't get Friday's off, I needed something I could make ahead. I was in the mood for black bean soup and I found a great recipe online, along with complementary cornbread muffins.

I made the soup on Wednesday. Fortunately, we have a practically empty fridge downstairs to store it in. I had to make the muffins when I got home for work . . . and I had a meeting that ended pretty late, so I was in the middle of preparations when the first people arrived. Roupen and Shirley began setting the table immediately. (I was worried about doing that the night before, because I thought the dogs would pull everything on the floor.) Todd and Linda came next and finished making the muffins. Anita brought a salad. Donna brought something else. Others came with dessert offerings. Peter and Kristy came all the way from Argentina!! (They just got back after being gone several months.)

It was a more than full house. We kept adding place settings until no more place settings could be added. There were 14 of us!

I think everyone had enough to eat. We were on seconds when we ran out of soup. One lonely, little muffin was my breakfast this morning.

There were dog adventures, too. Soup was spilled and I got a snarl when I pulled a dog away from the clean-up. The door didn't completely latch after I said goodbye to one guest and Slick got out long enough to snarl at a nice dog in our front yard. (I had the presence of mind to yell, "Do you want a cookie?" and he came running back in.) The dog's owners couldn't have been more gracious. I couldn't have been more mortified.

In short, a wacky time was had by all.

I think we'll have to do it again next week.

Photo is by Kevin Dooley. Found on Flickr Creative Commons.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I was a little lonely.

Ross is gone. He's in Tennessee right now to help his parents, who are both ill. He left on Wednesday to visit a client in Atlanta. Since he was partway there, he just went up to Tennessee.

I don't do very well when he's gone. I stay up too late. I'm not very productive.

But tonight our Friday night group rallied round -- even though our chef wasn't here. Ross was cooking for his dad and the nephew who has been taking care of the house while Ross's parents were in the hospital.

I ordered pizza and made a salad.

We talked about a lot of stuff. I think I did most of the talking. When I'm alone here, I talk to myself too much. I hope I got most of it out of my system.
The first night Ross was gone, we had a weird wind storm. Storm may be an exaggeration, but it was definitely eerie -- like Halloween should be. Clouds scudding across a night sky. That sort of thing. I also could have sworn I heard footsteps IN THE HOUSE! This seriously got my heart pounding.

Last night, no wind. But a very quiet house. And then . . . FOOTSTEPS! I start talking (to the dogs, of course) hoping to let whoever it is know there's someone here. Hoping they'd leave. Yikes!

Tonight, I'm busily preparing for the arrival of the group and when I see Slick jump from a chair, he sets it rocking and I hear . . . what sounds exactly like footsteps, unless you know it's the rocking chair.

The photo is from Flickr Creative Commons.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Taste in books

I love books about food.

I have read quite a few backstage at the restaurant books, like Kitchen Confidential, by Bourdain and Heat by Buford. I like Ruth Reichl's memoirs about being a restaurant critic -- especially Garlic and Sapphires. I've also read any number of wine books. Yes, wine is food.

And, of course, cookbooks make great reading. I confess I like the ones with pictures most. But the Best Recipe books that are heavy on explanation are the most helpful for cooking, if you really want to go so far as to try making the recipes you read.

Ross bought me a terrific book for Christmas. It's Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. (By the way, I'm using my new gecko bookmark in it -- thanks, Nita and Ted!)

Unfortunately, da boyz like food books, too, and ate the cover while I was out the other day. Very upsetting.

Ross and I have spent a couple days now picking books to keep and packing them up for the move to Mexico. We're keeping more than any two people can read in a lifetime. But choosing (or chewing) books isn't always about logic.