Friday, April 10, 2015

Just keep hiking, hiking, hiking...

The boys made it to Hampton, Tennessee a few days ago. Their new tablet is in hand, but wi-fi service is not. I expect they will update their blog tomorrow. (At their request, I am not blogging about where they are at NOW or will be at any given time.)
They have traveled more than 400 miles so far... and will soon be at the 1/4 of the way mark!
We are working on a camera card exchange... They are getting a new camera card, and I will have the one that has been in their camera so far. It was supposed to hold over 400 pictures. When they have come across something they REALLY needed a picture of in the past couple of weeks, they have had to go back and delete pictures to make room. What hard choices!
Thus far, their daily average for us to be meeting them at our planned time has been spot-on.
Sam has told me that as much as he had fallen in love with the Pecos Wilderness and mountains in New Mexico, The Great Smokeys  have become rivals for his affection.
They are meeting many nice people, and many interesting people. Some are both!
It isn't all about putting one foot in front of the other for more than 2100 miles... an occasional day or two off will see them exploring some of the great places they pass through, or near. A few weeks down the road will have them at a point where they can take a train into Washington, D.C., and visit the Smithsonian. That is on their "must do" list. At one point in the trail, if the day is clear, they will actually be able to see the NYC skyline.
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Today is my Aunt Jean's birthday. She is my dad's sister. Aunt Jean has always been a positive influence on my life. When I was flunking out of PE in first grade because I didn't know how to skip... she taught me how! When I was cheating on the sight word flash cards... she busted me and made me learn to read instead of guess. (My Mom was holding the flash cards up, and they were backlit. I could see the picture through the card. I even remember the two I was having trouble with... "feather" and "father".)
Happy Birthday Aunt Jean!
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The great work weekend shindig has been set at my Dad's (Grandpa Bill's) house for the 18&19 of April. That is NEXT weekend. If you can come out and lend a hand, we would love to have you! Just let us know.
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Last, but not least: Prayer request. My brother Ricky (Eric) has been in the hospital the last couple of days. One problem is blood pressure- I am not sure what all is wrong. He was supposed to be released yesterday, but was kept another night. Pray for his health and healing.
Thank you!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Day at the Races...

I think the Marx Brothers was a shorter feature.
Alana
Yesterday, I got to attend a trackmeet my grand daughter Alana was in. It was nice to get to spend part of a day with her. I missed her first event, high jump, trying to locate the school. This was in spite of having printed out written directions, and those failing, stopping and asking for directions. Having street signs would go a long way in ending confusion, Tahlequah. Just saying. Alana also did shot put, long jump, and discus.


Shot Put
Long Jump (practice)

Long jump, for real!


Discus throw


Alana didn't win, but we all had a good time!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

so, yeah. What difference does it make?

Thank you all for your prayers. Regarding my request from the last post... a decision was made! (Yay!) But too late to make a difference. Perhaps God's shutting a door.
Tonight, I am over wrought. Distraught and upset over a stupid phrase: "In 100 years, what difference will anything make?" (Alt) "In 100 years, what difference will it make?"
Do any of us make such a difference, that in 100 years one would be able to tell?
In 100 years, my beloved Granny would be 200 years old. Gone 101years.
"Who cares?"
Who will care?
In 100 years, does it matter what sort of house we lived in? What we did, or said, or ate?
In a few cases... yes.
In most cases, the correct answer to the question that was thrown cavalierly in my face, "No it won't matter."
So, in the face of whatever we do, or say, however we act today not mattering in 100 years...
How should we then live?
Does God only care about those who come after us?
Do we not matter today, now?
What sort of stupid question is it, "In 100 years, what difference will it make?"
90 years ago, my great grandmother was trying to raise 5 kids after her husband died of pneumonia. Her day to day may not be IMPORTANT to me now... but knowing she did it, matters.
Can we be complete jerks to everyone around us... because in 100 years, what difference will it make?
Or should we be nice and accommodating to those around us? In 100 years, what difference will it make?
100 years from now, my eldest grandchild will be 114. The youngest, just over 100. No one will remember me as a person they knew. They will perhaps only be hoping someone will remember them one day.
Life is short. It is as fragile as butterfly wings.
Should we strive to be happy? or just endure the time we have, because in the long run, it doesn't matter?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Howdy

I made it through Friday night at work! I couldn't wear the wrist brace while I worked, but put it back on afterwards. I did hurt all evening- but not even nearly to the degree of pain I have had for the last year and a half. The brace went back on after work, I took Advil when I got home. I'm good. I can do this!
We had a worrisome weekend after not hearing from the Individuals since Thursday. Mr C was worse than I was! So I called where the boys should have been... and they were there. Their cell phone didn't get signal in that town at all. (A severe drawback of  Straight Talk is lack of coverage in so many places.)
Sam's new screen for his Nexus 7 tablet caught up to him. While it had tools included in the repair kit... it didn't have ALL the tools one needs. Sam shipped the entire thing home to us and ordered a new tablet, which should arrive by next weekend a couple of stops down the trail.
Despite some hardships, the Individuals are trudging along, having a wonderful time for the most part. Sam said one full day, they started out in the rain, and as they hiked UP the mountain, rain gave way to snow. DOWN the mountain, snow gave way to rain. UP the mountain, snow. DOWN into the rain. "Just like in Minecraft!"
They pitched their tent in a light snowfall- and woke up to more than 5" of snow pressing in on the tent! Their boots had, for the first time, soaked completely through, and had frozen solid during the night. Just the THOUGHT of putting on frozen boots makes my legs ache.

Over the weekend, Mr C and I got started packing up Daniel's room with intention to combine the boys stuff into one room. We ran into the thing everyone runs into: "But First!" It looks like we will need to pack up a lot of stuff in both rooms and go through quite a bit of stuff before any actual combining goes on. Sam's closet has been a storage repository for the extra bedding the entire 10+ years we have been in this house. Time to pare it down! I need someplace to stack the packed boxes. Outdoor storage would sure be helpful. Dan has an entire hutch full of chain-mail supplies. Really too heavy for cardboard boxes- I will have to figure out some way/ place to store them.

Here in AR, I would like to request some prayers for an important decision to be made. For some people, making decisions is a difficult thing. Often so hard to make, the decisions are put off until the choices are removed. So I thank you for praying. Meanwhile, I am trying to maintain a good attitude... it might be a good thing to pray for my attitude as well. I've got the patience thing pretty well under control, so don't pray any more patience (trials!) on me!  (James 1:3)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Still kicking along!

I've got scalloped taters in the oven, pork chops marinating to be cooked in the rotisserie. Avocados begging to be used for something.
After a few *I'm a parent and it's my job* worrisome days, we heard from the Individuals today. Sam broke the screen on his tablet... no blog updates, no Skype, no Anne of Green Gables until they get it replaced. I got a replacement screen ordered for them.. and so much for Amazon Prime two day shipping! It is supposed to arrive... at the place they were suppose to arrive at on the 30th... either the 30 to the 1st. Which is only a small problem if they weren't actually closer to arriving on the 28th. Their care package should be at the spot today- at the latest tomorrow. They may have to pay to have the replacement screen re-mailed to a future stop.
The boys made Gatlinburg, TN today. They hadn't planned to stop there, but ran low on supplies. You eat way more than you think you will when living on the Trail. Sam said he expected Gatlinburg to be about the size of Gentry, a small town with a limited choice of resupply spots. Instead, he finds Tourist Central. Had not the boys been on a tight schedule due to their Great Smokey Mountains hiking permit, Sam said they would of loved to spend more time exploring this historic town.

I looked around the house here... my organized-ish pack rats nest! and found the wrist brace I used some 13 years ago when I had carpal tunnel problems. After a couple of days of the itchy neoprene device, we went to town and Tom got me a sturdy, clunky brace. I am wearing it not quite 24/7... have to take it off  to wash my hands, cook, or wet clean anything. Just loosen it a bit at night to keep me from curling my arms up into little pretzels while I sleep. We will see how I am faring after this coming Friday night, when I cannot wear it at all to work. If necessary, I may have to reluctantly give notice. We are trying some "natural" remedies before resorting to surgery. If I don't have a rapid improvement, it will have to be surgery. (I know you CAN get better from carpal tunnel, I've done so before.)
Carpal tunnel is related to rheumatoid arthritis, which the doc says I have some form of- so not sure how effective treating just CT will be without full out counter attacking the RA. We shall see. Meanwhile, trying to write... or type... is "interesting."
Please continue prayers for our boys!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Whew, what a work-out.

Tonight was my first night to solo as the Fryer. It was also Chicken fried Chicken night. A whole extra set-up involved, and twice the amount of frying.
I need an elevator up the front steps at home. Four is too many. One is too many!
The boys were sorely missed by everyone. We had a substitute dishwasher, one of the ladies who has been there a long time- Barbara. I don't know where the teen girl is Sam trained, we were too busy to talk! But the daytime dishwasher- I don't even know if I can type without crying.
Brenda lost her 18 year old son to heart failure a couple of nights ago. He was bowling, felt bad. Felt REALLY bad. 911 was called- he didn't even make it to the hospital. He had been sick a couple of months back with pneumonia- folks are wondering if it damaged his heart.
The owner, Cam, drained and filtered the oil for me tonight, and carried the heavy buckets. I think people noticed I was struggling with them.
What I have been thinking for months is arthritis settled into one arm, and worsening, my Moms (Rose and Kathie) and my Dad, and brother Robbie all agreed I was wrong. I apparently have a classic and advanced case of carpal tunnel. I suppose I better find time to get that taken care of. Supposed to be a minor surgery. I am tired of hurting! Wonder if I can blame my lower back pain on carpal tunnel?
Several of my co-workers asked how I was faring during the evening. Many stepped up to help when I had fish, hush puppies, chicken fingers, and chicken fried chicken all cooking, and was needing to cut and/or bread more fish, fingers, and CFC. Most were afraid I was stressed out. I wasn't stressed at all- just in pain. No one yelled at me, or chewed me out. Those things stress me out. Being busy with multiple tasks does not.
Oh, Cam also showed me how to remove the blast nozzle from the pressure washer. It was MUCH easier to clean the fryers without the narrow focused pressure stream! I joked and said maybe Dan WANTED me covered in blasted bits of fryer debris, and that was why he didn't show me to do that! The narrow focus blast nozzle DOES have its place in cleaning the fryer... AFTER the debris is rinsed out!
Anyway, all the co-workers are enjoying the boys' blog, and quite a few commented on how much they enjoy Sam's writing ability. I had a call from the twins about noon today- they had received texts concerning Brenda's son. They are past the 150 mile mark, and expect to be to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park within the next day or so. They are still having a grand time, though had a miserably wet night last (Thursday) night. They said they pretty much everything, everywhere, in every way was wet. (Except sleeping bags). They snuggled into their "burritos of warmth" and slept in this morning. (They are known for being on the trail when its is still too early to hike without their head lamps.)
That is all for now. Goodnight, be blessed!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Here we are... the empty nest

Which really isn't the point of the post here.
I got home tonight from getting Jaffa from his "grandparents". My Dad and Kathie have doggy-sat him while we took the twins to the Appalachian Trail.
I picked up one spoiled rotten dog. He adopted my brother Robbie, his "uncle" while we were gone.
Apparently, Jaffa was Robbie's shadow the past week and a half. He even SLEPT with him.
I'm sorry, my parental duties to our dog do NOT include sleeping with him. Yes, many folks do sleep with their dogs. I do not.
Oh, the doggy drama.
The first night I was there, Jaffa was SO glad to see me. He would NOT let me go out of the house to the car for anything, unless he came along. He came upstairs with me. I made him a pallet to sleep on. He put his paws on the bed, and wagged hopefully. I told him, "Don't even THINK of it!". He gave a huge sigh and went over and curled up on his pallet, as the bedroom door was closed.
Last night, Kathie and I were up late. Jaffa fell asleep on his elevated doggy bed in the living room, with its two pads, plus blankets. I went up to bed and left him sleeping. I left the bedroom door cracked.
During the night, Jaffa discovered he was downstairs without any of his people. He came up and opened the bedroom where I was. He put his paws on the bed and "asked" permission to get on it. I said, "No. You sleep on your pallet!"
He gave a heavy sigh, went down the hall and jumped the gate that contains my brother's dogs in their portion of the house. He never came back. This morning, my brother tells me, Jaffa pawed him, and nosed him over. He slept with them!
Dan and Sam have called several times. They were at/ beyond "Wayah Bald" at the 120 mile mark of the trail last night. That does NOT include today's hiking.
Both are doing well! if you have a copy of the 2015 Northbound A.T. Guide, they are entering page 20.
I added an additional photo site for their adventure: www.graveljourney.shutterfly.com/pictures to their site. This is separate from their blog at www.graveljourney.blogspot.com . I will add a few pictures to it as I receive them.
Prayers are appreciated! Thank you for reading.
~Tammy~