Thursday, November 8, 2018

Halloween

There is  a lovely new home waiting for me in Encinitas, Ca. in which I can claim a bedroom and a bathroom.  The house was built by my son Ron and his wife Loretta and I will be headquartering there for the future winters. No, I am not giving up my traveling--at least not yet, but I cannot think of a  more inviting place to spend the cold winter months than with them in Southern California.


What this move to Ca. means is that I will miss some very special people like these two ghostbusters. Don and Nancy have been great friends for many years now plus they  are famous for throwing some of the best parties.


They are both engineers which means they have the expertise to turn their front yard into the most exciting graveyard seen outside of Disneyland.


Everything talks, moves, lights up or jumps at any unsuspecting children who dare to venture to the front door to ask for candy.


The night before Halloween, Don and Nancy invite several hundred of their closest friends and neighbors to come for a 'test run'.
  
 

There is revelry, card games, karaoke, a fire pit, and great food shared by all....


...even a few ghouls.


This guy was somewhat anti-social.


Why are clowns so creepy? 



I took Daisy out of the RV to see this stuff--it really spooked her.







A real plus about living in an RV is that I can spend the night parked in front of their house and don't have to worry about having that last glass of wine before driving somewhere.


Anyway, the hard part of every new adventure is leaving behind so many friends.  I will be having Thanksgiving dinner  with Suzie and Bill; Ron will come the next day to rent a truck and help me pack up the last of the stuff in storage; then I am headed west.  Tucson has been my home for 17 years, but I will be back to visit.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Another Rescued Dog

It was the longest, hottest summer on record that sister Mary and I spent in Ft Worth, closing out Aunt Louise's apartment and settling her affairs.  At the end of the summer Mary headed back to Hawaii and Daisy and I started our return to Tucson for my annual rounds of doctors and dentists.


 One place I usually spend the night is at a casino on the New Mexico side of the border just a few miles from El Paso. The casino has about 8 spaces with hook ups for RVs where they charge a very nominal fee.  No, I never play the slot machines or sit at the poker tables--mostly because I cannot handle the smokey air, but I also don't see the pleasure in the games.  Now, if the casinos should have a table for Mexican Dominoes or perhaps another for party bridge,  then I might be able to ignore the smoke.


I had just finished breakfast and was preparing to pack up and continue on our way to Tucson when suddenly I heard horns honking, tires squealing and people shouting, all from the very busy thoroughfare in front of the casino.  I looked over to see a lady leaning way out on the driver's side 
window as she inched her car along the road, all the while coaxing this beautiful dog to follow her.


She pulled into the casino lot, stopped her car and jumped out to make sure the dog was safely out of the traffic.  The dog seemed to want to go with her but then looked at me and decided I looked more interesting.  "I almost hit him!" She frantically explained.  "If I left him on the road he would surely have been killed. "  


We checked the dog for tags and found none, though clearly the dog was well cared for.   "I have to go to work," she said, "so I don't have time to take him to the animal shelter.  Can you take him?" she asked as she quickly jumped into her car and sped away.



Daisy was not at all sure about this sudden interloper.   A young man drove up and said he had seen the dog on the road.  He wanted to take him but he was a soldier on his way to report for duty and said he didn't think they would let him have a dog.  


I used Daisy's spare leash to keep him from running off but clearly he was ready to stay right where  he was.


And Daisy was quickly warming up to this new friend.


I could not handle another dog in my somewhat small and crowded RV so I called Pet Smart for some advice.  I told them I would not turn this beauty over to any animal shelter that might kill him and they gave me the phone number of a rescue center in El Paso and suggested I try them.


The person in El Paso reassured me they did not kill animals and several hours later someone drove over to New Mexico and took him away.


It was sure hard to say goodbye.  Daisy had quickly bonded with him and the rest of the trip to Tucson I think my own little 'rescue dog' was heartbroken and depressed. Ah, such is life.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Aunt Louise --1921--2018


In previous years this is the week I should have been in Ft. Worth, to celebrate Aunt Louise's birthday.  She would have been 98 years old on Oct. 19th.  


She was born the year before women got the right to vote.  In 1941 she went to work for an airplane manufacturer that would later become General Dynamics--designing airplanes (because the men had all gone to war).  In 1945 the company decided she was too good an employee to replace with one of those soldiers returning from the war so she continued to design airplanes for them for the next 50 years--and always she was the only woman in that department.


She was a role model for my sisters and myself and such an important part of our growing up time. So many summers were spent with her and Grandma Zelma.   She and her mother were  surrogate babysitters for three very rebellious, preteen/teenage, girls.

(our trip to Italy in 1998)
Aunt Louise introduced my sisters and myself to museums, ballets, concerts, live theatre, geneology, the nature of Texas, and history of every sort.  The absolute highlight of my time with her was when, at 87 years of age, Aunt Louise decided she wanted to find her grandfather's home town of Barga, Italy.


It was a wonderful trip that I will never forget. 


I recall how sister Mary and I worried that the trip to Italy would be too strenuous for her--boy, we were wrong.  She walked us to exhaustion and never once complained.

 

While waiting for a table in this popular restaurant in Florence, we discovered how the Italians revere the matriarchs of every Italian family.  The owner of this highly acclaimed restaurant came rushing outside and cast a worried glance at Aunt Louise.  Seconds later he returned with  a chair, a small table and a glass of wine for her--while sister Mary and I continued to stand.  After dinner the owner presented Aunt Louise with a bottle of wine to take with her as a souvenir.  He gave us the bill.


Her last two years were enhanced by a wonderful caregiver, Suzanne, who made sure that Aunt Louise continued to stay interested in the world around her.  


This was my favorite picture of her someone brought to the memorial service.  She is holding a baby pig.  

 

 This was Aunt Louise's 'crush'. During happy hour when he was performing he would always come to her chair, take her hand and sing directly to her.  (much to the chagrin of all the other ladies in the room) He sang her favorite hymns at the memorial service.

(Memorial at Hill Villa)

When Aunt Louise first arrived at Hill Villa, she was invited at mealtime to join a table, shared by two sisters and one brother-in-law.   Within the first year one of the sisters died and no one else was asked to join. Three years later the last three died--within two months of each other.  It was so sad to see that empty table that four friends had shared.  Someone finally removed the table from the dining room.  "Too many ghosts." was the reason given.

Monday, September 24, 2018

A Family Reunion

The Maxwell Family Reunion was still going to occur even though it seemed we were surrounded by crisis.  Mary was hourly watching out for lava flow back home in Hilo and talking regularly to Jim to be sure he was ready to vacate the house if necessary.
Mary was also preparing to dash to Ft Worth as soon as the weekend affair ended to start funeral arrangements for Aunt Louise.   I planned on waiting to leave for Ft Worth until mid-week because cousin Jamie was having open heart surgery on Wednesday and I wanted to stay around long enough to know he (and Linda) were okay.

(Mr/Mrs Ken Maxwell, Patsy Maxwell, Doris Maxwell, Jo, Mary, Denise & Jamie)

Half of us at this affair are Maxwell descendants and the one thing a good many of us seem to share in some way are crummy tickers!  

There were others missing from this event that were also dealing with heart problems--cousins, Jerry Otis and his son Tavius. Thankfully all the hearts have been repaired and are mending.


Once again family friend Dickie let us use his beautiful renovated plantation home for the reunion.


The veranda was everyone's favorite spot.


Linda is surrounded by her mother and her aunt--twins.


(Wendy, Dickie, Mimi, Dwight)


More sisters.


(Lindsey)


Aunt Doris Maxwell is the last surviving aunt of that generation. And she is still as cheerful and loving as she has ever been.  We also have one surviving uncle, Merrill, who could not attend.  He is in an assisted living home in San Antonio.  


Dwight with the youngest Maxwell descendant.




Are we laughing or crying?


Little Lindsey


That is the original kitchen.  It is not used as a kitchen anymore--storage I think.



Dickie is very rightly proud of the chandeliers he has installed.  They are beautiful.


The bedrooms are lovely.  The plantation house is being used for weddings and reunions like ours but it will soon (we hope) be a B & B as well.

(Wendy, Jamie, Mimi)
Two sisters and their fantastic dad.

The last day before everyone was due to leave we went to Mimi's house for a very traditional 'Louisiana Crawfish Boil'.


These little tiny lobsters are tough to crack and peel so one has lots of time to sit and visit while working one's way through that mountain of crawfish.


During that afternoon we actually went through two mountains of this delicacy.  Food just doesn't get any better.  But boy, were my fingers ever sore. 

 

The Master Chefs, Brian and David


Mary, on the phone to Jim. "The lava isn't getting any closer."


Cousin Stephanie and the newest member of the family.




Lindsey


The next morning Jo and Mary headed to the airport.   Jo returned to Redding where, in only a few weeks time the Carr wildfire would force her out of her home.  Thankfully the fire skirted her street but it came very close.
Mary headed to Ft Worth and I would meet her there in just a few days time.   Such a happy/sad summer...stressful and never relaxing with so many crisis in a row.