http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

It’s New Years Eve

My, my is it ever humid here in Louisiana!  Everything is dripping, dripping.  There was a tornado in Arkansas today killing 3 people—it’s that kind of weather!

We spent a quiet morning—today is not an easy day for our friends Gina and Rollie and we wanted to give them as much space as possible.  Today was their son Rollie’s birthday, he would have been 24—we can only imagine the sadness Gina and Rollie must feel today.

Emmi got a bath this morning then Rollie went with us out to the Bass Pro Shop—Michael and I had never been inside one—quite the store to say the least!

On the way home we stopped in to visit some special friends of Rollie and Gina’s—Mr. Homer and Mrs. Lee.  Mr. Homer is 75 years old and this year he planted 3500 tomato plants—his grandsons help him harvest the tomatoes and they then sell the tomatoes in his shop along with sweet potatoes, watermelons and pecans.  Mr. Homer has so many fascinating stories—we loved getting to meet him and listen to his descriptions of his life.

This evening we drove a long way (two doors down) to the home of Rollie’s sister Dana and her husband Ricky for New Year’s Eve dinner.  Nicole joined us with Dana and Ricky cooking some wonderful fish, stuffed baked potatoes, hushpuppies and the best corn and shrimp bisque—it was so good!!  Nicole made a delicious cheesecake and Gina a chocolate pie—YUM!  OK, now we seriously need to diet in the New Year!

It was wonderful to meet some more of Gina and Rollie’s family!  Happy New Year to all our friends and family.

Bass Pro Shop Bass Pro Shop all decked out in moss covered trees.

The New Years gang Nicole took this photo of Michael & I, Gina & Rollie, Dana & Ricky.

Us with Dana and Ricky Michael and I with Dana and Ricky

Picture 012 Ricky with their baby Addison.

And by the way, it was St. Paul’s Cathedral not St. Peter’s as I said in last night’s blog.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cowboy Goes To New Orleans

Well, we can say we have been to New Orleans and Michael loved it!  I’ve been several times over the years for business but this trip was a first for him.  Thank you so much Gina and Rollie for showing us the sights.  Michael loved the architecture and the oldness of the buildings still in use, the quirkiness of the city—even all the people didn’t faze him today—the cowboy walked around with his mouth hanging open.  We had an absolute ball! 

Gina and Rollie’s sweet daughter Nicole allowed us to use her car for the trip down—first stop was lunch at Jack Dempsey’s—a favorite of Rollie’s when he worked in New Orleans.  From the outside and inside it didn’t look like much but all our food was delicious.  And of course Gina and Rollie wouldn’t let us get the check!

Rollie then took us on a walking tour around the Quarter, Bourbon Street, Jackson Square—we both just looked and stared—we saw very strange people—people that just wouldn’t fit in in Montana!!!  A girl that used to be a guy directing traffic in a scarily short mini-skirt??!!!  People old and young everywhere—probably not the best time to be in New Orleans as it is New Year’s Eve tomorrow night and the Sugar Bowl is being held just after the New Year.  But it just added to New Orleans’ uniqueness! 

Gina and I were dropped off in front of Cafe Du Monde to stand in line while the guys found a parking place.  We were seated just before the guys walked back and enjoyed plates of beignets and cups of beyond strong coffee.  Beignets are square doughnuts covered in mounds of powdered sugar.  It is a mistake to wear anything black to Cafe Du Monde—powdered sugar everywhere. 

Jack Dempsey's

Cafe Du Monde Cafe Du Monde

Old and New2

The old and new of New Orleans

Old and New NO street

Cafe Du Monde2 St Peter's and beads St. Peter’s Church, notice the Mardi Gras beads in the tree—I didn’t notice the beads when I took the photo.

The crowds Us on Bourbon Street Picasa Us on Bourbon Street.

Soon it was time to head back toward Denham Springs—Gina and Rollie—we had a wonderful, wonderful time, thank you so much!One lost cowboy See that lost Montana cowboy??

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just A Great Day In Louisiana

After a restless night for me, Michael woke early and was up at the crack of dawn—I slept in.  Rollie stopped by to ask us if we liked doughnuts????  Is there anyone who doesn’t like doughnuts???  We indulged in a few artery clogging doughnuts, Michael and Rollie dug up the water lines that feed their little pond in the garden—found the broken spot in the plumbing and then we were all off to the furniture store.

While in Arkansas Ann took us to a few furniture stores to look at loveseats for the motorhome but we didn’t find what we wanted.  We originally thought we would winter with the furniture that came with the motorhome but found it to be just a whole lot uncomfortable!  Gina and Rollie took us to V. Watts furniture store—very nice furniture at reasonable prices.  We found the perfect reclining loveseat that fit in the exact spot we had--New couch Better photo to come!

After the furniture store we had lunch then Gina and I were off to have pedicures—oh, what luxury, what bliss, just wonderful!!!  Can you tell it has been a long time since I had a pedicure????? 

Rollie borrowed his Uncle Jim’s truck and he and Michael went to the furniture store, bought the loveseat and had it almost installed by the time Gina and arrived back home.

Tonight is their son Thomas and his wife Ashley’s last night here before they return to their bases in California—Gina wanted to make chicken and dumplings and that is what she did.  I am not a dumpling fan but let me tell you, I could become one after eating Gina’s!!!  Thomas also fried up a batch of crawfish for us to sample and for he and Ashley to take along as snack food.  Delicious!

We are back in our motorhome, relaxed on our new couch enjoying the sound of rain on the roof. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crossing That Big River

We didn’t have to check out of the casino RV park until noon so I took advantage of that time to do chores—vacuum, clean the bathroom, etc.  We pulled out shortly after noon and were at Gina and Rollie’s just after 2pm.

Michael has always joked that he really doesn’t see any need to ever cross that “big river” because way too many people live on the east side of the Mississippi.  He has only been east of the Mississippi once in his life.  Well, today he had to cross that “big river.”Crossing the Mississippi Going over the bridge in Baton Rouge.  Baton Rouge and the Mississippi So, now that we have that under our belts anything is possible???  The Outer Banks, Maine, Florida???  Who knows where the Clarks may end up!

It was so good to see Gina and Rollie and their home is just beautiful.  Gina made gumbo and cornbread for supper—I also sampled some of her “millionaires”—a caramel/pecan/chocolate candy that is to die for!  We met their son Thomas and his wife Ashley.  Nicole stopped by for supper, too. 

Emmi, Zoey and Angel are getting acquainted again fighting over laps and toys.  We are parked here in the driveway and Gina and Rollie have lots of plans for showing us their world—we can’t wait!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Travel Day

With sadness we pulled out of Danny and Ann’s driveway this morning and traveled less than 300 miles in 6 hours.  We went through little towns with names such as Dry Prong and landed at the Paragon Casino and Resort in Marksville, LA about 2:30pm.  Our full hookup site with Passport America is $9.61 per night—concrete, level pad, cable TV and full hookups—can’t beat that deal!

I walked the dog while Michael chatted with our neighbor until the neighbor’s wife came out and said, “get in here, you know how mad you get when someone tries to talk to you while you are setting up!”  Michael and I got quite the chuckle out of that!

There is a beautiful golf course attached to this resort—the course was closed today and Emmi and I walked back across the course—at the beginning was the driving range and there were many golf balls out there.  I am sorry to report, we have a thieving dog—she grabbed a golf ball and carried it in her mouth all the way back to the RV.  She is very, very proud of her find!

There is a 24 hour a day shuttle which when called will pick you up at your RV site and deliver you to the casino.  We took advantage of the shuttle and had dinner in the casino—it was nothing to write home about and certainly not up to the caliber of food we ate at Danny and Ann’s but at least I didn’t have to cook!  What happened to $5 casino meals??  Our buffet meal was $15 each!  We left less than $5 in the slot machines before calling it a night.

Michael got the later dog walking duty and I got writing the blog duty.

Tomorrow we will be at the home of our dear friends Gina and Rollie—we can’t wait!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Last Sunday

I woke up today with a sense of sadness—today was our last day here in Arkansas with my family.  We took a walk then church.  Can anyone guess what came next??  If you guessed more eating your were right!  But at least we just warmed leftovers!

Michael dumped our gray water tank and filled the fresh water.  I took advantage of my sister’s laundry room and we have all clean clothes now.  Even ironed Michael’s shirts! 

Mid afternoon Michael and I took Ellie’s quilt over to Karon and Dan’s so they could see it before we left.  Dan tried to claim possession Ellie as it was in his house but I was able to sneak it out the door!  I will start hand sewing the binding as we go down the road tomorrow.

We all gathered for one last meal at Danny and Ann’s tonight—snack type foods, Ann made a delicious guacamole!  Niki, Eric and the girls came later and finished up the leftovers.  You could tell it had been a busy and exciting weekend for one little girl—Leah fell asleep on the floor shortly after arriving!  Elizabeth continued to go just like the energizer bunny! 

Even though I will miss my family greatly it is time to head on down the road.  Our plans are up in the air and we will just head south tomorrow—I am going to try and hold Michael to under 300 miles in one day! 

Emmi chased the cat one last time tonight—I am sure Fluffly, the cat and Spot the dog are ready for the “kid” to go on down the road!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

What a wonderful, wonderful season and time here in Arkansas!  Danny and Ann were out early going over to see what Santa brought for the granddaughters.  Before Niki, Eric, Ross and Vicky had their own families it was tradition for everyone to gather at Danny and Ann’s for Christmas morning breakfast.  Now with everyone having kiddos our breakfast gathering is smaller.  Mom, Chuck, Danny, Ann, Michael and I gathered about 9am for a delicious breakfast--Breakfast cinnamon rolls homemade cinnamon rolls compliments of Mom.

Santa was very, very good to Michael and me!!  I received an IPod Touch, books, journal,  Michael got a new Toshiba laptop, books, new jacket and vest.  I would say we are very, very blessed! 

People began coming by—Niki, Eric and the girls arrived, my Aunt Mary came by—we went for a walk, a cold, windy walk.  Uncle Frank Lee and Aunt Valeta stopped in to visit.  And we ate again—imagine that!  Danny grilled ribs, pork loins, we had fresh black eyed peas, corn, cornbread dressing, salad, fruit salad—can you say stuffed???  Afterwards we sat around and visited.  I’m sure that walk allowed me to eat more, right?? 

Here are some photos from today--Basketball The girls playing with one of Granny’s gifts—basketball and hoop.

Ann's Penny Rug Ann’s penny rug I made for her.Christmas Day breakfast The breakfast gang.

Mom's Prize My grandmother pieced this quilt and gave it to my Aunt Margaret many years ago.  Aunt Marg hand quilted the quilt and gave it to my Mom yesterday—isn’t it gorgeous.  Does anyone know what pattern this is?? 

Merry Christmas, hope all our friends and family enjoyed their Christmas as much as Michael and I did. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Today my sister, Mom and I drove to Clinton, AR to see my Aunt Marg and her friend Marti—they keep me supplied with quilts for longarming.  We took some great lasagna soup Ann had made and Aunt Marg supplied sandwich fixings and a delicious orange slice cake.  Marti brought a pumpkin bar cake that was really good, too.  So, once again we ate way too much!

Tonight we gathered once again at Danny and Ann’s for finger foods and soup.  I can feel a major diet coming on!  The whole family was there except for Niki and her gang who were celebrating Christmas with Eric’s family today.  We had a great time visiting—the boys love Emmi and she is sound asleep in Michael’s lap now after all the playing and loving.  Niki stopped by with Leah for just a few minutes, that was one excited little girl—waiting for Santa!

No photos today, when I got the camera out on the way to Clinton I discovered I had left the card in the computer. 

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family and may the New Year bring you good health and happiness. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Wonderful Family Celebration

With all the family dynamics going on we decided to hold our family celebration tonight.  Niki has to work Christmas Eve, Vicky’s family was celebrating Christmas Day—you know how it is, so tonight was our night.  Before we got here the powers that be decided to have a progressive dinner.  It was so much fun!

We started with appetizers at Mom’s followed by salads at Niki and Eric’s.  Danny and Ann hosted the main course and Ross and Vicky hosted the desserts.  After all that food we all waddled back to our respective homes!  Vickys table Don’t Vicky’s pies look great—they were, especially the pumpkin!!

We exchanged little small gifts at each home, many of the gifts were homemade—chex party mix, jellies, cookies.  The guys received flashlights, tool kits and other guys things.  The ladies got socks, soaps and other girly things.  We had so much fun—none of the gifts were expensive but meant so much—I loved it! 

We even received presents all the way from Holland—Mom and Daddy hosted an exchange student many years ago who became part of our family.  Her family in Holland also became part of ours—in 2008 when Michael and I were here in Arkansas for Christmas, the Holland gang of eight joined us.  The exchange student, Maaike and her husband Leon have a new baby Rosa—the three of them made an Arkansas trip this last spring to introduce Rosa to her Arkansas family.  They sent “kanjers”, a caramel cookie very popular in Holland and Dutch Monopoly games with chocolate game pieces.  Of course all the writing on the game board and pieces is Dutch!

I spoke with Karon yesterday—Karon is a friend of Ellie’s and grew up here in Sheridan.  She and her husband have recently gone from full timing back to their sticks and brick home in Sheridan.  We met for lunch today and had one of those “been friends forever” kind of chats.  Found out we know lots of people in common of course—Sheridan isn’t that big of a town.  (Sorry, I tried to post links to Ellie and Karon’s blog and my internet connection is just too slow).  I was supposed to have taken Ellie’s quilt with me to show Karon, got it out of the cupboard and left it on the bed!!!  GRRR!!  I will try to stop back by Karon and Dan’s sometime this weekend to show her the quilt.  I got to meet KD, their schnauzer today, too.

It was a fabulous day in the Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Michael Babysits

After we took our walk this morning Mom and I made plans to go visit her sister in a Little Rock hospital with a stop at a quilt store also on the agenda.  Danny my brother-in-law was charged with keeping his grandchildren today, Leah and Elizabeth. 

When I left Leah decided it might be more fun out in the motorhome with Michael or was it Emmi she was interested in??  Michael said Leah and Emmi played all day and Leah dined very well on cherry cheesecake pie.  When I got home this is what I found:Sleeping angel

and Emmi was sound asleep in Michael’s lap.  I think they had fun!

Tonight we all went to Ross (my brother) and Vicky’s for dinner—good, good soup and cornbread!  We won’t ever starve here on Barnes-Hill!!

Danny and Ann have gone with their church to deliver food baskets and Christmas carols to those in need.  Michael and I are relaxing and trying to deal with our slow internet signal!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Clean Motorhome, Clean Dog

My sister’s grandchildren Leah and Elizabeth spent the night with their Granny and insisted on accompanying us on the morning walk.  I think Granny had warned them, “no whining,” and they both actually did pretty good.  I didn’t lose any credit cards on the walk today, either. 

The walking gang Granny and Leah

After the walk Michael got started washing the motorhome and I washed the dog.  Made the motorhome look so much better!  He also installed the amplifier we bought yesterday so we can listen to Christmas music.

Ann and Danny fixed steaks on the grill, baked potatoes and salad for our late lunch.  I managed to get another load of clothes washed and then Michael and I headed off to look at a trailer to pull behind the motorhome.  Whoa—that was one long trailer and we decided against that one! 

Spent the evening visiting before coming over to our house to just chill.  Have been having problems with our Verizon air card and think it is just poor signal—I was able to use the air card in town with no problems but out here in the country it just doesn’t work well.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I’m Losing It!

My sister Ann, Michael and I took a long 3 mile walk around some of the country roads early this morning.  As we walked along I tucked my hands in my vest pocket and noticed that my American Express card was still there from when I paid for the fuel we purchased Saturday evening.  After arriving back at the motorhome I went to get the card and put it back in my wallet—it wasn’t there!!!  YIKES—we had walked on gravel roads and out through heavily forested trails—could be hunting for a needle in a haystack.  While Mom and I made lunch Ann took their 4-wheeler out and found the card right in the middle of the gravel road.  OK, that was one case of losing it today.

Before we left Montana I purchased Wal Mart gift cards for my two great nieces and for my nephews.  Can’t find the cards and I am almost certain I left the gift cards on the dresser in the guest bedroom back home.  So, I purchased new ones today—OK, that’s the second case of losing it!

Then Ann took Michael and me to Benton to find a pawn shop—the outdated amplifier in the motorhome died and without the amplifier we can’t listen to CD’s in the huge multi-disc player that came with the motorhome.  Michael thought a pawn shop would be the place to look and he was right—found one.  Then I decided we needed to look at furniture—loveseats that recline for the motorhome.  I carry a small tape measure in my purse and we were using it to measure various couches—I kept losing the tape measure then my cell phone, then the tape measure.  I am really losing it!!

A stop at Wal Mart for a few groceries and then home—leftovers for supper and more visiting.  Niki brought the girls over to spend the night with Granny—my sister who is babysitting them tomorrow—should be entertaining around here for sure!

Talked to Rollie today about plans for arriving in the desert.  They haven’t set firm plans for leaving Louisiana yet but hopefully before the end of the year. 

My brother and his son Clayton drove to Dallas yesterday, picked up a load of pipe this morning early and drove back this afternoon.  My other nephew had his wisdom teeth removed today—what an icky way to spend Christmas vacation!!!

That is all the news from Barnes-Hill for today. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday On Barnes Hill

As a family we have always joked and called our little spot in the country in Arkansas, Barnes Hill.  Our family name is Barnes and my sister is married to a Hill—thus the name Barnes Hill.  I am the only immediate family member not living right on or near the farm my father’s parents owned.  It was a typical Sunday on Barnes Hill—church and way too much to eat. 

The choir did a wonderful job with the Christmas cantata, my cousin Mary Ellen was the narrator (see I told you we have lots of family around) and tonight we went back to church as the children performed their Christmas program.  The kids were a delight, just adorable—one of the things that make Christmas special. 

I love being home for Christmas with my family and I love that my husband is comfortable here and enjoys my family also.  It does help that his mother in law provides him with plenty of cherry cheesecake pies!

We did get the internet working better this afternoon so I will attempt to post a few photos from our trip and from today. 

McGee Creek State Park site McGee Creek State Park

JB left a comment stating he wanted to travel in front of us so Michael would come long behind and repair JB and Brenda’s rig when or if it breaks down.  Michael wants JB to know it would be a pleasure to travel in the company of someone who is ingenious enough to tie their roof on with crank straps after the wind blows the roof off!!!

Danny and the children Danny (brother in law) reading a Bible story to the children.   Leah the angelElizabeth the angel

Leah and Elizabeth, my niece’s little angels????

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We Arrived

Pulling out of McGee Creek State Park about noon, we pulled into my sister’s driveway about 5pm.  An easy day of back country roads and small towns. 

A big supper of catfish, fries and hushpuppies awaited us—good old southern food and very good, too! 

It is always good to come home to Arkansas.  My brother’s boys have grown so much—Trent is 16 years old and Clayton just turned 15, both are long, tall skinny boys reminding me of Ross, my brother when he was young.  My niece Niki’s girls are just full of themselves at eight and six.  Tonight we also had Kerri and Bradley’s two girls—Harley and new little baby Tucker.  The house was hopping!  And Emmi wasn’t too crazy about that other baby in her Mom’s lap!

Our internet air card is not working well here at my sister’s and she has dial up still so blog posting will be sporadic.  And no photos unless I find a faster connection! 

Tomorrow we will attend church in the church where I grew up—my brother-in-law is the minister there—the choir is performing a Christmas cantata. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Almost There And Snow

Surprisingly we both slept very well in our little roadside park last night due probably in part to the two semi-trucks which pulled in and parked right next to us with engines running.  The engine noise drowned out the other noises—trucks, vehicles, etc. 

Michael was awake at 4am due to the train noise and we were up getting ready by 5am—pulling out just before 6:30.  Our destination for today was McGee Creek State Park in south eastern Oklahoma, (we stayed there in December, 2008)—should have been an easy drive with an arrival time of about 3:30pm.  NOT!!!!  Right before lunch time I was driving, we came to a road side park, stopped, walked the dog and started off again.  Not five miles down the road, engine heat alarms started going off and the engine stopped!!!!  Yes, stopped, cut off, quit!!!  We were able to coast onto a gravel side road and my super mechanic went to work.  The problem—our Webasto diesel fired hydronic circulating pump sprang a leak and emptied all the coolant from the engine and heating system—YIKES!  Michael was able to bypass the pump and refill the coolant.  Isn’t it nice to be married to a super mechanic???  I think so!

While Michael was crawling around under the motorhome a very kind southern Oklahoma gentleman driving  a road grader stopped to see if he could help.  We were just about on our way but it was kind of him—he pointed us in the direction of the local NAPA store where Michael replenished our antifreeze and purchased a couple lengths of hose just in case. 

OK, we are on our way again but all the mechanic work sure delayed us.  Finally about 5:30pm we arrived at the state park—emptied our tanks and found a spot.  We are the only people in the park which has electric and water hookups.  Our sight is lake view out the windows if it wasn’t dark and snowing!!  YES, SNOWING!  Rain mixed with snow but tomorrow is supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny. 

We are very close to my family home so we will be there tomorrow, YEA!

OK Windmills

Oklahoma windmills.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Long Travel Day

No one knocked on our door and told us to leave our quiet little spot last night—we both slept extremely well!  We were rolling before 6:30am leaving Rapid City behind.  We drove until almost 7pm again which is way too long but just couldn’t find the right spot to light for the night.  We are parked in a roadside park outside Dodge City, KS which allows overnighting but it is located at the intersection of two busy highways—we may not sleep much tonight! 

Only had about 30 miles of iffy roads all day.  I even drove for a couple of hours.Roads like this

We bought fuel at $3.29/gallon, thank goodness our tank was only half empty!

The little towns we drove through today in Nebraska and Kansas were decorated for Christmas beautifully.  The last one before Dodge City was Jerome, KS right at dusk—gorgeous decorations and the most unusual, old street lights.  I would love to know more of the history of Jerome—many of the houses were all decked out in Christmas lights, too. 

Now, Michael is tired, ready to just sit and what happens—the Fan-tastic fan in the bathroom develops a mind of its own opening and closing at will.  Nothing we do to the controls changes anything—it is possessed.  So, poor Michael is in the bathroom working on the fan, GRRRR!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On A Lighter Note

Michael’s post surgery appointment went well, all clear and by 12:30pm we had the Jeep hooked up and were heading out of the hospital parking lot. 

Last night Michael spent a lot of time looking at weather reports and our usual route from Billings to Casper was not looking good.  I90 freeway webcams showed roads snow packed and icy.  So, we decided to take another route and go through Rapid City, SD—this direction adds less than a hundred miles to our trip and we traveled on roads like this today--Away we go We drove until just after 7pm trying to get ahead of any other storms.  We are parked in a South Dakota visitor center, no one else here but us, no signs saying we can’t park here—tucked in for the night.  Enjoyed a dinner of homemade spaghetti, bed soon.  Traveling in style There is Emmi traveling in style.


Several years ago our Federal government and many do good wildlife/conservation organizations decided Montana, Wyoming and Idaho needed wolves.  At a cost of millions of dollars (which our government does not have) wolves were reintroduced in spite of intense opposition from ranchers and hunters.  Our neighbors and friends have lost calves, llamas and dogs to these vicious animals.  We have had friends whose horses were attacked in a corral.  We got out of the cattle business due to the reintroduction of these horrible, vicious creatures.  And, don’t tell me these animals aren’t vicious--wolf kill Standard e-mail view This man is standing over poor Fred—a 14 year old wonderful cow dog belonging to our son Lonnie.  The building below the barn is their house—the dogs were let out of the garage this morning early and the wolves attacked.  Fred’s face was torn beyond recognition and his back was broken from the bite where this vet’s hand is located.  wolf kill2 Standard e-mail view

Fred was at the end of his life, he had worked hard all his life and he did not deserve to die like this because some tree hugging wildlife conservation idiot decides that more precious wolves needed to be in placed in Yellowstone National Park.  Well, then build a fence around the Park and keep your wolves there, we don’t want them. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Maybe We Know

Another rainy day in Billings although when I took Emmi out for an early morning walk both the dog and I slipped and slid around a few blocks, the streets and sidewalks were extremely icy. 

So, the rheumatologist is almost certain Michael has rheumatoid arthritis and almost certain he does not have gout—so do we know or do we not??  To be serious, the doctor did aspirate one of Michael’s hand joints and there were no uric acid crystals which is usually a clear indication gout is not present.  Michael’s MRI showed he has “erosions” of significant size in many of his hand and wrist joints and one of the causes of these “erosions” is rheumatoid arthritis.  We are glad a diagnosis even if it is a tentative one has been made—tentative depending on whether the medications help. 

One more doctor’s appointment tomorrow and then Michael says he hopes doctor’s are not on his appointment calendar for a while!

Got all my gray covered up this afternoon and about 1pm tomorrow we hope this rig is heading for warmer country.  Weather any direction we may head is not the best but we will cope! 

Thank you all again for your prayers and thoughts about Michael, we appreciate it beyond words!

Monday, December 13, 2010

We Are On Our Way

Another strange weather day for December in Montana, 52 degrees and melting snow water running everywhere!  Our gravel road is maintained by the platinum mine located 10 miles above us—magnesium chloride dust suppression is applied year round—when the road is wet the magnesium chloride sticks to your vehicles like cement.  Michael was really concerned about the under carriage of the motorhome and did not want to drive it over the road when wet.  So, just before 8am while the road was still semi frozen we took the motorhome out to the highway.  Then came back home, gathered some more stuff and shut the house down for the winter. 

We went out to Nat’s, filled the water tank and visited with him for a while.  Went back into town and filled the propane tank and headed down the road.

Arrived in Billings during a rainstorm of all things in December and found a spot in the parking lot of St. Vincent Healthcare.  Billings still has HUGE piles of dirty snow everywhere but the streets are clear. 

Michael has a doctor’s appointment in the morning with the rheumatologist who hopefully will have some answers.

My little Canon point and shoot camera does not take good photos inside at night so none of the photos I took at Jeane and Steve’s turned out with the exception of this one:

Jeane Jill & Gemma From the left, Jeane, Jill and Gemma.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Strange Weather, A Party and Ready to Go

Well, sort of ready to go.  The motorhome is mostly loaded, there are lots of last minute things to load and the house has to be closed down.  But, we are a lot closer to being ready than we were this morning.

It was almost 50 degrees here today, we have slushy snow and lots of treacherous ice. 

My dear friend Jeane gave Michael and me a going away party tonight.  As I’ve written before, she and Steve live in an old historic home that was once a carriage house.  Jeane has exquisite taste in decorating and her house was gorgeous tonight with all the Christmas decorations.  Dinner was absolutely delicious and the company just the best.  Jill and Terry, Gemma and Mark, and Gwen and Arch were Jeane and Steve’s guests and our dear friends sending us off for the winter.  While we love to go south and get out of the cold, we miss our friends and family, too.  I took some photographs tonight of Jeane’s house and decorations and will post those tomorrow.

It is late and we are off to bed, excited to be taking off tomorrow—yep, we moved it up a day or two.  Michael’s doctor’s appointment in Billings is really early Tuesday morning so we will just go down and spend tomorrow night rather than try to get everything closed down here at home so early in the morning.

Hope I didn’t forget anything!  The quilt looks wonderful on the bed!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas With The Family

Last night was the night we all chose to celebrate Christmas as a family before we take off for warmer pastures.  I decided I would take dinner in to Nat’s and we could have our little gathering at his house.  Before we all arrived at Nat’s some of us watched the lighted Christmas parade and fireworks in downtown Big Timber.  We dined on beef tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes, salad with poppy seed dressing and two kinds of pie.  After dinner we opened presents—Michael and I both loved what we were given, Katie and Michael gave us photographs from their wedding which are just spectacular.  Our gifts which we gave were well liked too, especially the slippers we gave LoraLee—the slippers have some kind of substance inside that can be warmed in the microwave.  LoraLee has always complained of cold feet but especially since the horse accident and subsequent surgeries this summer.  It was a wonderful evening with our family!

Well, the quilt for the motorhome is made and quilted, the binding is ready to be sewn on—pretty amazing as the quilt is a huge oversized queen.  Now we will have a really beautiful bed covering for the winter! 

Michael was having a better day today and changed another seal of some sort on the Jeep.  Tomorrow we start packing the motorhome in earnest! 

Our friends Peg and John purchased a home in Arizona last winter and have all ready fled this frozen country but are flying back here to spend Christmas with their daughter.  Peg called the other day and asked if we could drive their truck to Billings this next week when we go for Michael’s doctor’s appointments.  Peg arranged for our friends and neighbors Mary and Ron to drop the truck here at our house today.  Mary is one of my quilting buddies and she approved of the motorhome quilt. 

The excitement is building!

Sun on the Crazies

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Quilt Making and Loading

I’m probably setting myself up for stress but—I purchased fabric for a quilt for the motorhome bed a couple months ago.  With Michael’s illness and all the customer quilts I had to do, nothing was accomplished on that motorhome quilt.  I decided Tuesday that I could get the quilt finished if I got after it.  Well, as I write this I am getting ready to put the borders on—it is a very simple pattern with large blocks.  If I finish it OK, if I don’t it will be OK, too.

In between sewing I gathered items that needed to go to the motorhome, put them in a large laundry basket and Michael hauled them down to the motorhome.  I will have to go down later and put it all away but at least the stuff is there!

There was a large snowball in the driveway this morning and Emmi spotted it, Michael kicked it and we both sure enjoyed the show Emmi performed for us—she chased the snowball, bit the snowball, and barked at the snowball.

My snowball

My snowball2 

Snowy WB

Less than a week, I can say that now!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Billings Was Busy

Leaving Emmi with Nat we headed on to Billings—Michael’s MRI was the first stop.  He was only having a MRI of his hands and wrists but it would still take 2 hours we were told.  So off I went by myself to run some of our multiple errands for the day. 

A whirlwind 2 hours but I got a lot accomplished—picked up hair products, contact lenses, a Santa gift my sweet niece couldn’t find in AR, gift cards at the mall for Nat, dog food for Emmi and a Santa present for my sweet husband.  I was moving to say the least. 

The only thing that slowed me down was all the ice everywhere, the main streets are mostly clear and so are the driving lanes in parking lots but the parking spaces are skating rinks!  It is kind of hard to stand up with a 25 pound sack of dog food in your arms, juggle the keys to get the door open and all this without sliding down on the ice!

Got back just in time to pick up Michael and we were off to Famous Dave’s for lunch. 

Big R, Costco and Wal Mart rounded out our busy day.  My new glasses were ready at Costco and I really like them—can see better, too. 

Stopped in town to retrieve Emmi, had a beer with Nat and came up the Boulder.  Unloaded all the loot and we were standing in the kitchen when I realized Emmi wasn’t around.  She had been in and out while we were unloading the Jeep but wasn’t in the house now.  I went outside, called and called, went out to the garage to make sure she hadn’t followed Michael out there, no Emmi—by this time I am in a panic.  Michael started going through the house calling her, we keep our guest bedroom door closed all the time.  I had gone in that bedroom to put some Christmas presents on the bed—Emmi had followed me in there and I shut the door on her, not knowing she was there.  Oh, my, was I ever glad to see one little black dog!  She got lots of hugs and kisses!

One week from tomorrow we are heading down the road, YIPPEE!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Another Day of This and That

Tried out the Juki quilting machine and let’s just say I’m not in love yet!  After having driven a Cadillac (my APQS longarm) it is hard to work with anything else.  I did load a Christmas wall hanging onto the Juki frame and quilted a couple of rows—nope, I’m not in love yet!

Packed up some items to return, printed off mailing labels, got some Christmas packages ready to mail and went into town late this afternoon.  Delivered my last two customer quilts.  Came home dodging deer all the way.

Michael did some getting ready to go stuff—he got the big Ford dually in the garage for the winter and packed some other things into the motorhome. 

The mattress in the motorhome belonged to Mike’s Mom and Dad—it was their guest bed and it was in our guest room until we put it in the motorhome to replace the original mattress (remember, this motorhome is a 1996!!).  It is a very firm mattress and even though I put one of those 3 inch dense foam pads from Costco on top, we both had trouble sleeping this summer.  When I attended that Private Quarters party a few weeks ago (very high end bedding) I drooled over their very expensive feather bed thinking I would like to put one on the motorhome bed to see if it would help.  Didn’t buy one of those expensive ones but got on and found a very reasonable featherbed.  The thing was delivered by the poor UPS man last week—it weighs a ton and today I struggled to get it into the motorhome and on the bed so it will fluff—it sure feels nice, hope it helps!

Emmi has this trait—she loves to dance around on her two back feet—she seems to be able to dance around for a long time before going back to all fours.  This morning she thought chewing on Dad’s glove as we walked was a good idea--Give me that glove

Snowy WB

A week from today we hope to head to Billings, get Michael’s last two doctors appointments done with and travel on down the road. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Last One Done

My last customer quilt came off the frame this afternoon!  Now I think I will work on some of my own stuff, maybe!

It started out to be a beautiful day, sunny and not as cold but we lost the sun about lunch time--it was still warmer than it has been.  Michael decided to cut into firewood some of the logs we brought home from Robyn and Claire’s.  Hopefully this load will last us until we leave.  He also put out large round bales for the horses. 

Lonn and LoraLee stopped by late this afternoon with their early Christmas present, a new Dodge truck!  I love the smell of a new vehicle!

Siesta These three ladies were taking a siesta waiting for the sun to hit them.Buck

Ross can you see the whitetail buck in the photo above—he was after a doe who is just out of the picture.

Winter on the WB

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What Did I Do Today?

The days just fly by and at the end I have to ask myself, “what did I do today?”  And I guess I did something—I cooked lunch and oatmeal/chocolate chip/pecan cookies for Nat.  I also made a new coffeecake that is just delicious—I was going to take some of the cake out to my friend Gemma’s and have coffee with she and her Mom but found out Gemma is in IL at a wedding.  Oh, well, more calories for Mike and I to eat!

Last night when I loaded wood into the stove downstairs I got a face full of wood smoke.  At 5am this morning I started sneezing, sneezing and sneezing some more.  Took half a benadryl and of course that made me sleepy so Michael and Emmi went on a walk and I went back to bed for a couple of hours. 

Snowy sunset

Snowy View

And that’s all for our day here in snowy Montana!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another Cold One

Zero degrees when we got up, some sunshine and back down to about 10 degrees as I write this blog.  Eleven days and counting!

Finished Jill’s quilt today.  I decided not to post photos until the owner has seen the quilt and unfortunately I have forgotten to take some photos—I missed Jeane’s happy little snowman quilt, maybe I can sneak a photo next time I am out at her house.  And I loaded my last customer quilt onto the frame late this afternoon, YEA!

Michael puttered again and this afternoon began to putter dangerously!  In our basement there are three rooms, none of which is totally finished out.  My quilt studio uses one of the two larger rooms, Michael’s woodworking shop uses the other large room and the small room in the middle is our pantry/storage room.  This afternoon he decided to clean up and organize that room—don’t get me wrong, it needed cleaning—but-------I will have a hard time finding stuff for a while! 

We were able to take two walks today and this afternoon late I got some gorgeous photos.

Crazy Mountains in December

Enos Mtn

Christmas Tree thru window

This last photo is taken from outside our house looking in at the little Christmas tree.  The outside snow covered trees are reflected as well as the mountains in the distance.