Tag Archive | Life

2015 Road Trip: Texas to South Dakota, and back!

J Logo 75Made it HOME, and wow, what a great time we had. Just might take the rest of July to recover, but it was so worth it! Met my sister’s best friend from high school days, Sandy Hunger Hendley, up in the Dallas area and we made the rest of the trip together. Just like a couple teenagers, we shared memories and giggled the whole way.

Nazareth Convent Sisters of St. Joseph Est. 1913

Nazareth Convent
Sisters of St. Joseph
Est. 1913

Sandy Hunger Hendley under the front gate of the convent.

Sandy Hunger Hendley under the front gate of the convent.

We stopped for a break in Concordia, Kansas, and stumbled across Nazareth Convent, established in 1913 when my dad was just one year old. Enjoyed lunch at Kristy’s Family Restaurant [Great food!] and fell in love with the town.

Brownstone Hall

Brownstone Hall

In fact, Brownstone Hall is the old mansion at the top of the hill that I must use in my next story. Love the lions! Can you find them?

 

 

 

 

IMG_1508

Home of Walt and Sonja Lurz near Mission, SD.

Home of Walt and Sonja Lurz near Mission, SD.

We stayed at a lovely ranch near Mission, the home of Walt and Sonja Lurz. Sandy and Sonja are sisters. We loved every minute with them and hated to leave, but vacations don’t last forever. Never enjoyed myself more and I’ve adopted their whole family.

 

 

 

 

TCHS: the gymnasium

TCHS: the gymnasium

My home town, Mission, SD, is the home of the mighty Falcons! Awesome high school reunion, but before you start yawning, the town isn’t very big. It’s so small, they only host reunions once every five years, and you have to have graduated at least ten years prior to be included. Let’s just say that as a 1969 graduate, I definitely qualified. LOL!

 

Yeah, I created my share of trouble/fun. The 1968 annual staff photographer asked me to pose. What would you have done? LOL!

Yeah, I created my share of trouble/fun. The 1968 annual staff photographer asked me to pose. What would you have done? LOL!

Me, revisiting The Wall (sort of), in the lobby of TCHS.

Me, revisiting The Wall (sort of), in the lobby of TCHS.

Here’s a picture of me in the 1968 yearbook. Yeah, I’m hanging from The Wall. The annual staff photographer caught me in one of my more unique moments while I was out of class and wandering the hallways. I’m blaming my wedge heels for not being able to climb that wall this time. [Okay, just go with it. I tried. Ha!]

Street Dance after the high school reunion dinner. Shut down the whole street!

Street Dance after the high school reunion dinner. Shut down the whole street!

After the banquet and much greeting and hugging of old friends and neighbors, we found our way to the center of town and the Main Street dance. Yeah, they shut down the street for us. [Like I said, it’s a very small town!]

 

 

Hidden Timber, SD (The dam/lake is new, to me!)

Hidden Timber, SD
(The lake is new, to me!)

We took a couple extra days to travel around the county from Hidden Timber to Parmalee, then to Wood, Witten, and O’Kreek. Remember Jordan Hill? So many changes, yet things somehow remained the same. Loved that! There never used to be a dam along Hidden Timber road, but the little valley is absolutely lovely.

The cliffs and dock at the Rosebud dam.

The cliffs and dock at the Rosebud dam.

Summertime fun, sunbathing at the dock in the middle of Rosebud Dam.

Summertime fun, sunbathing at the dock in the middle of Rosebud Dam.

And, here’s the Rosebud Dam. Never used to be moss in the water, and there weren’t any trees or shrubs below the cliffs. It has been quite a few years, and nature takes over. We used to dive off those cliffs and swim out to the dock and sunbathe. Great memories!

 

 

 

 

Francis Case Bridge over The Missouri River.

Francis Case Bridge
over The Missouri River.

My new bed partner, Nick!

My new bed partner, Nick!

Katie with her sweet and cuddly cat, Nick.

Katie with her sweet and cuddly cat, Nick.

We crossed The Missouri River on our way to Sioux Falls where we spent several days with my niece, Julie Sell. Julie’s daughter, Katie, kept us giggling and her cat, Nick, became my new bed partner. So cuddly!

 

 

 

IMG_1606IMG_1592On our way out of town, we toured the reason for the town’s name: The Falls on the Big Sioux River.

 

 

 

 

Entrance to The Palmer Candy Shoppe, home of the notorious Twin Bing candy bars. Yum!

Entrance to The Palmer Candy Shoppe, home of the notorious Twin Bing candy bars. Yum!

An old fashioned candy vat sitting at the entrance to the shoppe.

An old fashioned candy vat sitting at the entrance to the shoppe.

Just a sample of the goodies to be found inside the candy shoppe. See the Twin Bings?

Just a sample of the goodies to be found inside the candy shoppe. See the Twin Bings?

Our last official stop was The Palmer Candy Shoppe in Sioux City, Iowa. If you’re from the Great Plains and moved away, you know you can’t get Twin Bing candy bars where you now reside. So, while there, I bought a couple boxes of ‘em, along with a few souveniers. And, high on a shoppe shelf, I also found a couple small jars of Choke Cherry Jelly—another item not found in Texas.

Here's my haul: Palmer Candy hat, cookbook, and a whole box of Twin Bings. Yes!

Here’s my haul: Palmer Candy hat, cookbook, and a whole box of Twin Bings. Yes!

We’ll see how long the candy lasts. Between me, my kids, and my sister, I may have to hoard a few Twin Bings. LOL!

Thanks for coming along with me down Memory Lane. What’s your favorite childhood or teen years memory? Lazing on a dock in the middle of a lake? Horseback riding? Or, a candy bar you can no longer get? Careful, it just might end up in a book!

Luggage, Road Trips, and a Sleepy Muse!

J Logo 75

My new luggage. Love!

My new luggage. Love!

I’m in luggage heaven. Look what just arrived! I’ve been searching for carry-on size luggage pieces that are suitable for a long weekend trip, or longer. These fit in the overhead bin or under the seat, are very light weight, have space for my writing stuff as well as clothes and toiletries. And, the unexpected bonus: the two pieces fit inside the itty-bitty trunk of my Z4 with plenty of room left for my travel partner’s stuff. Road trip!

Speaking of road trips, I’ve got two trips scheduled for 2015. My sister and I will be heading up to our old stomping grounds this coming summer. We plan to see a few family members as well as attend our high school reunion. It’s been a while since either of us have seen the home town crew, so I’m sure we’ll be checking out those name tags. Ha! The trip will take us from Houston up to Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and back to Texas, with various stops along the way. With all that gorgeous scenery and fun, my artist’s well is sure to be restocked and well fortified by the time we get home.

My second road trip in 2015 will be to attend a week-long writer’s retreat near Nashville. I’ll be meeting up with my online critique group, The Lalalas. This is still in the planning stages, but be forewarned, there will be about 18 of us in the neighborhood sometime in October. Oh, yes, while we’re there, many books will be plotted, brainstormed, revised, edited, and written. I know this is a whole year away, but I can hardly wait to spend time with these incredibly talented ladies. I’ll be plotting and storyboarding a new writing project just for this event.

See what a couple pieces of new luggage did for my sleepy muse? I’m all but salivating with the urge to pick up the pen. I can already visualize the settings for a story, and a couple characters have popped into the fray, ready to create some mischief. So, have you ever stumbled onto a strange way to kick-start your muse? I’d love to hear what works for you. Apparently, my muse has been pouting for luggage.

 

Garbage Day, Mani-Pedi’s, and a guy named Kane

J Logo 75I find it quite appropriate today to be blocking out huge chunks of time for various life events all geared toward me moving forward. Suddenly, my world is full of a whole lot of uncommitted hours. Hours that are meant to be reserved for my Writing Life.

And how, you ask, is that working out for me? So far, so good. But, it’s only been two days since I’ve officially retired, so this new lifestyle is a monstrous work in progress.

Wouldn’t you know? Captain Bulldog has already blessed me with a chore he’s done the past several years. I’ll now be setting out the garbage for our weekly collections. Yeah, retirement is that glamorous. Ha!

Don’t think I haven’t been savagely protecting my newly earned ‘free time’. I do have my To Do List, starting with eliminating my house from an upcoming episode of Hoarders. Don’t judge, okay? A woman can only do so many things in any given day.

I had my priorities in order this past year, but things got away from me due to the day job, chairing my home chapter’s annual writing contest, and getting my debut novel published. Those things took the lion’s share of my time. Maintaining a semblance of family relationships sliced the remaining hours. So, keeping the house on the Better Homes and Gardens best dressed list had to go, along with regular mani-pedi and hair appointments.

What are the three top items on my new To-Do List?

  1. Write my own stuff: stories, blogs, and do a few critiques and edits along the way
  2. Get healthy: cut out junk, fix healthy meals, and exercise
  3. Reclaim the house: purge, organize, and clean

See that last item on number two? That’s where a guy named Kane comes into play. I signed up at the gym near my subdivision and he’s the trainer who will be guiding me along my Get Healthy Schedule. My goal is to get back into my size 10 blue jeans by this summer’s RWA national conference. It going to be a challenge, but I’m determined to be the very best I can be—even at this late stage of my life. Never too late, right? RIGHT.

Wish me luck. I’ll post updates every so often.

Tech..no!

As you can see, I haven’t posted in a few days. That’s because I’ve taken a few days off from looking at my site so I can see it with clear eyes. After tweaking a bit here and there–and getting my photo uploaded to the sidebar–it was time to check into moving my WordPress site into my existing Web Hosting site. That’s the end goal, to be able to use the domain name of choice and make it easy for everyone. Well, that was easier said than done. I spent about an hour last night on the phone with a very lovely and patient technician who got my hosting site ready for the move. She emailed the instructions I’d need to move the WP site myself. I looked through that and found about seven layers of additional techno-gibberish that makes my head swim. This is me, calling my girl (or guy) back and begging them to bail me out of hot water. “Uncle! Help me, plu-eeease.” If you don’t hear from me for days and days, you’ll know I’m still treading the techno-geek waters.

Life Notes

So, The Hubs, otherwise known as Mr. Jaye, gave me quite the scare last night. Thanks to him, we’ve discovered a cute little health trick called Cough Syncopy. After a 14 hour stint at the local ER, we found out that his heart is healthy, thank God, but he’d blacked out here at home due to lack of oxygen to his brain while coughing. Who knew? Okay, maybe some of you already knew about this but it’s news to us. His cardiologist yelled at him, appropriately, for not getting checked earlier for bronchitis and put him on a Z-pac. Dr also said Hubs couldn’t drive until his cough is completely gone. If you know my guy, you know he’s into his ‘wheels’. So, I will be taking ALL the car keys with me whenever I leave the house…just in case. And, I’ll be playing taxi driver this next week IF he decides he’s able to work.

Can you say H-O-U-S-T-O-N  T-R-A-F-F-I-C ??? Oy!