Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And when you are making plans, life happens

Once again I’ve been distracted from writing about FDR and Eleanor’s beloved island Campobello - who knows if I will ever get back to it!

One of our “words to live by”, “Our plans are like jello, very flexible” took on a whole new meaning last week when we received a call telling us that the grandson we helped raise was in a one car crash and was pretty banged up.  Since we are in Maine we couldn’t have been further away from Fresno, California when it happened and because of HIPPA privacy laws we were unable to get very much information about his condition over the telephone.  Husband Gary had flight reservations made for me almost before the news had fully registered and I was on my way back to California.

Jorden was wearing his seatbelt and definitely had his guardian angel (us in the family think it was our nephew Michael who was taken from us too soon) in the car with him when he fell asleep, hit a guard rail, flipped, rolled down an embankment, hit a tree and is not only alive but, after only seven days, was released from the hospital and healing.  He has a compression fracture to his L1 disk for which he is wearing a back brace for about three months, a broken nose with lots of stitches to repair the skin and which will have to be re-broken and set when swelling is gone, a bruised lung, concussion, all of which, whew, will heal with time. For now his goal is to rest and recuperate.

I won’t show a photo of Jorden but here is what remains of his Honda:


On Thursday he and I joined Gary back in Maine. We flew from Fresno to Phoenix (unbeknownst to us barely missed another haboob, one of the huge dust storms Phoenix has been experiencing this year,) then on to Philadelphia where our flight to Bangor was delayed due to weather.  While waiting for our Bangor flight we had four gate changes. Thank goodness for those electric carts that ferry those who need them!  And we were safely at home at 3:15am.

Our 49th anniversary happened while I was in Fresno, only the second time we haven’t been together on August 17th!  The first was way back when Gary was in the US Air Force stationed in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Here we are back in ‘62.scan0011

We are now watching hurricane Iris to see if it truly makes its way all the way up the East Coast as the Weather Channel say is possible.  If so, our plans will again be like jello and we will point the truck west pretty quickly --- our fifth wheel prefers not to ride out huge winds!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FDR & Eleanor. . .oops, I got distracted!

This morning I sat down to write about FDR and Eleanor’s beloved island Campobello and got distracted.  I remembered that it was time for Grammie & Papa to send the Little Ones grandchildren their yearly back-to-school shopping money.  It is usually a Target gift card which they love but there isn’t a Target here in Ellsworth, Maine so I’m sure they will be quite happy with cash.

It wouldn’t do for Grammie to just throw the money in an envelope!  UMMM-what kind of cards should I make?  I decided to make little cards and then thought, ah it’s cash, I’ll do cash gift envelopes!  I started to draw out a template but wouldn’t checking on-line for a template be a little easier?  Yep, Googled it and found a very nice template on Mirwood Designs (I bookmarked that site for future projects; it has lots of neat templates!)

My bone folder is a real bone given to grandson Jorden by an Alaskan artist.DSCN5999I used Printmaster to find some fun back-to-school graphics.  Even though I liked the Bulletin Board graphic, when I tried to center the template over it, it just wouldn’t feature enough of the graphic so this went in the trash.DSCN5996Found another cute graphic, printed and cut it out. Oops!  Why does the president seems to be peeking though the cutout?  I know used the correct template!  (Had never noticed before but on older bills the president is centered and on the newer “large face” bills the faces are off center.)  Well, I figured out that, in order for the cutout to be in correct alignment, the right side of the template and the printed graphic design had to be facing when cutting it out.  Easy fix there.DSCN5998

DSCN6001Here, I have the process down and having fun making personalizing graphics for each “grand.”  Colored pencils for ten-year old Stanley, cute paint pots for nine-year old Mary and leaves, pencils and books for seven-year old Will.DSCN5997Finished product, loaded with a “president,” tied with a ribbon and ready to go in a mailing envelope!  That was fun for me, hope the “grands” like them too.DSCN6002So now I can get back to FDR and his beloved island!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Fulltime RVing: A SUMMER IN THE “BRIG”. . .

museum, that is.  

Interpretive Hosting at Farragut State Park in Idaho was one of our more interesting Fulltime RVing experiences.  My article about this experience was published in the Workamper News photo contest a few years ago. Workamper News article 2002Text of the above:

Few people are aware that 4,000 acre Farragut State Park in the panhandle of Idaho was once the location of a World War II Naval Training Center.  The Brig (Navy term for jail) is the only remaining building of about 700 which were quickly built after the Pearl Harbor attack.  Farragut Naval Training Center trained 293,381 “boots” for the war effort during it’s short operation from 1942-46.

We thoroughly enjoyed our assignment as Interpretive Hosts at the “Brig” naval museum.  We felt we were caretakers of an important piece of our country’s history.  A highlight was hearing both the stories of the men and women who trained and worked at the center and those who lived during the war years.  Most often they started with “we didn’t do anything special.”

From Park Manager Bryan and rangers Dennis, Al, Jim, Tami, Keith, Pam to Park Interpreter Nancy, friendly helpful park aides, Visitor Center personnel and especially the campground hosts we were made to feel welcome and valued.

Situated in forests of ponderosa and other pines, nowadays this quiet scenic park on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Pond Oray) hosts campers, bicyclists, horse back riders, Boy and Girl Scout Jamborees, a shooting range, and even a special area, (formerly parade grounds for the training center) for remote controlled airplane events.  Abundant wildlife roams the park with an occasional “black dog in the area” alert.  Black dog is a code word for bear!

For the 14th time in our eight years of full timing our Workamper assignment was a positive experience. Thanks, Workamper News, for publishing the “Sears catalog” of working and volunteering on the road.

The photo of us and grandson Jorden, a seasoned “Junior Workamper,” is taken in front of the museum map of the naval training center.


MVC-846SThe Brig is the only remaining major Naval Training Center building. Unruly “boots” would have entered through the large gates on center front of the Brig.  Brig Museum entrance is at left front of the building. imageOur site was tucked into the Ponderosa pines beside the Brig and entrance to the museum.MVC-797SBefore arriving at Farragut we were unaware that the Navy had a land-locked training center during WWII.  Makes sense since it was feared that coastal locations would have been vulnerable to enemy attack.MVC-703SUnrestored solitary confinement cells in an area of the Brig not open to the public.  Although it is rumored that ghosts of long-gone sailors roam the Brig we didn’t experience any paranormal activity.MVC-705SThis cell would have housed four to six inmates.  The mattresses aren’t exactly Tempur-pedic are they? And the blankets were scratchy wool--ouch.MVC-698SAnother cell without the chain link door and enclosure.  Items on the bunks are WWII era Navy uniforms.MVC-710SThe display board demonstrates many many sailor knots. Kids, and adults too, I must say, were attracted to the practice rail for learning knots such as clove hitch, anchor hitch and bowline. MVC-692SSignalman operated this signal lamp and also utilized semaphore flag signaling.  The red and white flag is a semaphore dating back to the war.MVC-699SA blackout headlight used on military vehicles.MVC-700SIn addition to our Interpretive Hosting duties we took on other projects at the Brig.  Here Gary is painting a new sign for the museum.  Jorden took part in several “Junior Ranger” programs such as tree planting, bike safety and wolf education.


Are you familiar with any of these Nautical quotes?

"Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!" -Admiral David Glasgow Farragut

"Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!"-Lieutenant Howell Maurice Forgy

"Don't give up the ship!"- Captain James Lawrence

"I have not yet begun to fight!"-Captain John Paul Jones

“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning”

“There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.” Joseph Conrad

"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest -- Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!" R.L. Stevenson