Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tomatoes and scooters ...

My Dad emailed me these pictures today, witht he following caption:

"Attached are some photos of the kids. The first two are of Xan riding his “scooter”. He learned to ride it much like Will does with Christian’s scooter next door. After he went around the yard area several times grandma noticed something funny – his pants were on backwards!. The third photo is of will selling tomato plants yesterday. The plants were “planted” by the turtles either by eating the tomatoes or by “passing” them. Either way, grandma salvaged them and has been giving them away but has too many to do that now so she let Will sell them on our corner. Even though they were selling for .25 he managed to sell five or six for $5.00. When one lady asked how much they were, he said $.05! I reminded him that his sign said $0.25. She still paid a $1.00 for one plant."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rodney's 31st birthday celebration ...

... we had some of Rodney's friends over to the house last night for poker and libations. Rodney now has a stockpile of beer that should last him a couple of months, unless he happens to share it with others. Here are some photos:

Yesterday the boys went to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. Will was especially excited to see the preserved Megamouth shark. Aunt Gina should have the pictures up on Brandon's blog soon... just click the link on the right.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day ...

... despite the boys being in California, we still managed for the boys to give him a gift. When my Mom was here to pick them up, we found these great shirts the boys could put their handprints on. Rodney really got a kick out of it, and his new comedian Rodney Carrington CD.

But the biggest laugh he got was from Will's portrait of him in his Father's Day card.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The boys at Sea World ...

... be sure to check out Brandon's blog if you haven't already (click on the link to the right). The boys went to Sea World and appeared to have a good time. Be sure to play the shark enclosure video - quite humorous!

On to Florida ...

Once we left Savannah Thursday morning, we headed toward Jacksonville, Florida, so we could catch I-10 West to Tallahassee, the state capital. In Jacksonville, I only had time to stop at one store, so I went with the one listed first on the Google search I did for the area. The Crop Shoppe is a fabulous scrapbook store, even Rodney was impressed. I could have done some serious damage to my wallet there, but the highway was calling, so I buzzed around the huge store as quickly as possible ...

After my quick look around the store, we headed for Tallahassee, arriving at about supper time. There had been a scrapbook store on my list to visit in that city, Scrapbook Market, but I had found out at the Crop Shoppe that the same owner owned both stores and the Scrapbook Market had recently closed. Unfortunately, store closures seem to be a trend right now, and I often called stores on my Google lists to find the numbers disconnected.

But we did see Rodney's buddy, Rick, and his girlfriend, Michelle while we were there. Rick and Rodney had been stationed at MCAS Yuma when I met Rodney in 1999.

Visiting with them was a great way to wrap up our road trip. That, and our trip to Costco Friday morning! Tallahassee is 3 hours from our house in Pensacola, and that is the closest Costco. Even though we didn't shop as big as we have in the past, I felt like I was back home in California, just walking the huge, carton-filled aisles.

We arrived back in Pensacola Friday at about 4:30 p.m. As it turned out Chris, our friend we visited in North Carolina, was in Biloxi, Mississippi, for his training and drove over to visit us this time. I tortured the men by making them go see "The Proposal" (they both said it wasn't as bad as they feared - we all laughed through it) and then we turned in for the night. I had to wake up at 7:30 a.m. so I could head over to Gigi's Scrapbookin' and More in Foley, Alabama, to teach at her 5th Anniversary crop!

Bye, South Carolina, hello Savannah!

Wednesday morning dawned and it was time to leave South Carolina. We thought about spending more time with my cousin, Marianne, and her family, and skipping our day in Savannah, but we decided to stay on schedule. Besides, we had been staying in Marianne's oldest daughter's room and I am sure Alyssa was happy to have her room (and bathroom!) back again! So, we loaded our stuff up into the Explorer again, and went out to the stable to pick up the dogs.

Before Rodney would let Marble and Ripley into the car, he insisted they have a bath.

Marianne's 24-year-old Keiger mustang, Neva, appeared to want to help. Then we discovered, once we got out of her direct path, she was just waiting patiently for us to move so she could get to her water barrel - despite the fact she could have gone around us!

After seeing some more of Florence, and having a last lunch with the Ralphs, we jumped on to I-95 for a few hours, hit some traffic after a lumber truck spilled its load on the highway, and got in to Savannah a little later than I had wanted. I had planned to go on a tour of downtown Savannah, but, unfortunatelky for me, there was a huge Girl Scout conference going on and they hapoened to have books every evening tour that day. We walked around Savannah a little bit, but it was 87 degrees, wuth humidity, so after a short while, all we wanted was some air conditioning! But befre we escaped to a bar along River Street, I snapped a few photos of some of the historic buildings:

The Savannah City Hall is at the end of Bull Street, so all the bull leads to city hall...

The Savannah Cotton Exchange used to have a beautiful fountain in front of it, but it was destoryed by a drunk driver last year.

The shops and restaurants along the river is where we sought refuge from the heat and humidity before we decided to take a Ghost Tour of Savannah. We were a bit disappointed in the tour. The guide did not have too many stories to tell, often got the facts wrong and didn't try to make the tour at all scary or spooky. Oh well... Rodney promised me we would go back to Savannah at some point so I could tour the area better.

Thursday morning, we got up, packed up and started to head toward Jacksonville, FL (the second Jacksonville on our trip!), ending up in Tallahassee to visit a friend of Rodney's. Before we left Savannah, there was just one stop we just HAD to make:

I actually made a little album from a Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World gift card tin for Rodney. We have taken a picture of Rodney in front of each of the ones he has been to, and then I add them to the mini album, along with the date he first visited that store. A hunter's shopping history documented!

Fortunately for me, the Outdoor World was attached to a mall that also had an AC Moore craft store inside of it. I had never been to an AC Moore before, so I just had to go in and take a peek.

AC Moore had all the scrapbooking staples, and I love the way they display their paper, but I noticed that the prices seemed to be a little bit higher there than at other craft stores I frequent. Of course, I did not check all of the products, so it may have just been my impression. I still have to say that my favorite of the big box craft stores is Hobby Lobby, ad I am lucky enough to have one in Pensacola. If you haven't been to one and have a chance to go, it's a must-do!

Darling Darlington ...

Being a fellow scrapbooker, my cousin, Marianne, was happy to take me to the local scrapbook store in the larger town of Florence, South Carolina, with our hussbands and her two daughters in tow. Florence is just south of Darlington. Scrapbook Concepts had all the scrapbooking staples, patterned papers and embellishments a scrapbooker could hope for, but with the added bonus of an abundance of racing and NASCAR themed items - appropriate due to the store's proximity to Darlington Speedway, of course.

After touring Florence and eating at the Five Guys restaurant (think California's In N Out in the South - quite tasty!) We headed out in Marianne's husband, John's 1955 Chevy Bel Air for a local museum, produce market and bakery called Mac's.

Inside the museum of sorts was a huge collection of antiques, cars, furniture, collectibles and more.

I just HAD to take this picture of the antique and contemporary phones together ...

We headed back to the Rock-N-Horse Ranch ... it was time to feed the horses! Buttercup, a palomino quarterhorse, came to the ranch pregnant last year and had her filly, Clover, the day after St. Patrick's Day.

Here is the ranch, from left to right, as you might see it from the dirt road that passes by the front of it:

The gazebo in the front yard; the original barn, now potential guest house; and fenced-in pool and pool house.

The house, obviously, with a great wrap-around proch complete with rocking chairs and swing.

The ranch's stable - Marianne currently has 19 horses on the ranch.

This is a fabulous arena on the property, fetauring restrooms, announcer's stand and refreshment stand.

And, last but not least, a good steak dinner among family at the end of a busy day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

From one Carolina to the next ...

(Sorry for the delay on updates - I did not have access to the Internet the past few days!)
On Monday morning, Michi and I headed to the only scrapbook store I could find in Jacksonville, NC, called A Crafter's Dream. This small store had all of the scrapbooking staples and plenty of military-themed papers and embellishments, this being a huge Marine Corps town. We said good-bye to Michi around noon and then headed off West again, to visit my cousin, Marianne, and her family in Darlington, South Carolina.

NASCAR fans might know Darlington due to the speedway there. And it is clear that NASCAR plays a huge part in the community there.

For the past two years, Marianne, with the help of her husband John and daughters Alyssa and Amanda, owns and manages the Rock-N-Horse Ranch in Darlington.

While I was raised in the Orange County, Calif., suburbs, I love the rural side of life, too. Rodney was basically raised on a farm, so for him, our visit to the ranch was going back to his roots. I cannot say the same for our dogs.

While they have stayed in less sophisticated areas than these indoor horse stalls, Marble and Ripley were not pleased to have been "demoted" to the ranks of livestock after staying in the climate-controlled and pillowed indoors through the trip so far. But they were none the worse for wear when their "camping trip" was over and it was time to go a few days later...

(Note: If you are looking for updates on Will and Xan and their adventures in California, please click on "Nephew Brandon's Blog" on the right. They went to Sea World today for Brandon's second birthday.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hangin' out with Michi ...

... Chris has a two-week air space course in Biloxi, MS, so he flew out this morning and that was the end of our fun with him. Michi, however, was a wonderful hostess and showed us all around Jacksonville ... which took about 20 minutes. Really, there aren't any photos because there really wasn't much to take pictures of. Just imagine a small town where everything is very green, but very wet... it rained on and off all day. Rodney found some gear he had been looking for and I found some unique Marine scrapbooking supplies at the Camp Lejeune exchange - win-win for everyone!

After a bit of a break at home in the afternoon, Michi took us back to base to introduce us to her "baby boy," Amedeus. They compete in dressage events around the area and he is just a beauty.

Michi's European 2-horse trailer.

Each day, Amedeus gets to spend some time in the open pasture - complete with his anti-fly suit and boots on.

Last but not least, the stables had this telephone booth outside.

Seriously, this might be the last working telephone booths in America ... I took this photo so I could explain it to Will and Xan in a few years. :)