Friday, October 31, 2008

October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween! (I say that with tongue in cheek as Halloween is not my favorite day. But for all of you party people out there, have a fun evening. The only thing I like about Halloween is all the chocolate.)

We have spent the better part of the week in the midst of breathtaking wonders of nature -- Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. We tried to capture as much as we could on camera, and so have included more pictures on this blog than usual. (We just couldn't decide what to eliminate.)

And speaking of cameras, for those who want to know, Jerry is using the Digital Nikkon D200 SLR with an 18-135 mm lens. I am using a simple point and shoot that I love. It is the Sony Cybershot DSC-T300 touchscreen with full HD 1080. (And you thought the pictures are great because we know how to take them!!!) Well, Jerry was a professional photographer in a previous life and I feel I have a bit of artistic creativity in me. (After all, my mother was an artist - and so is my sister.) Plus the cameras we are using allow us to compensate for different light settings.

Jenny, the picture of Jenny Lake is for you.

We are writing this from Jackson, WY - a cowboy town. We love it. But tomorrow we leave as we make our way to Salt Lake City.

Until next time, keep living the life you love.

Jerry and Mary

Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 26,2008

Hi Everyone,

Lesson learned! Never EVER play around with the background computer programming code for a website unless you know what you are doing. Trying to accommodate one of our faithful readers (he better be, he's our son) to add a "Comment" box at the end of each new posting (as we had in last year's blog), I studied the computer code -- and after hours of intense study, thinking I knew what I was doing, I substituted new code for the current code in one spot. Bad idea! I immediately lost 16-18 pictures previously posted on this blog (some real nice ones, too). Worst yet - the "Comment" box never showed up on the blog. So ____ (you know who you are), you will just have to e-mail us your comments (as everyone else does) at

After the class reunion in Grand Forks, ND we traveled to Jamestown, ND where we spent three days. It was cold and windy -- just as I remember North Dakota to be. The RV Park was right next to the "Largest Buffalo in the World." (See picture below of Chanti and me standing next to it.) I'd seen that buffalo from the freeway hundreds of times in my lifetime and now got to touch it! Gee -- how exciting!!!

Then we drove to Bismarck, got the stitches out of my right eye and could immediately see 20/20. But, my vision is still in the process of stabilizing and will take some time, yet. At least I can see distances, read road signs, read books, and work on the computer -- all without glasses for the last month. Now when I look in the mirror -- never mind.

From Bismarck, we spend 6 hours driving through Indian Reservations in both North and South Dakota because Jerry wanted to drive through an out-of-the way area. There was nothing spectacular to see the whole way. (Again, see picture below.) All I could think of was that, at one time, the Indians owned all of America. Then, the white folks came, took away all the beautiful parts of America, and allocated to the Indians what was left over.

You may be wondering why I put a picture of Subway on the side of this blog. Truth be told, we are trying to eat at all Jared's Subways across the USA. We are creatures of habit in some ways. Everytime we travel in the RV and it comes towards noontime, we look for the nearest Subway. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many Subways we have eaten at since we started this trip -- probably between 75 and 100. We love Subway!

Yesterday we drove to Buffalo, Wyoming where we spent the evening with very good friends from long ago. I've known Marlene since 1958 (she was in nursing with me) and have known her husband, Dick, since shortly after Marlene found him. It was such a pleasure being with them and their family -- and so much fun, too. I remember Kenny, their oldest, when he was just a one-year old running around with a hot dog and chips in his tiny hands. He is now 46 years old, with a lovely wife and a two year old (Abby). Boy, do they do up their house for Halloween!

We parked in their driveway. It snowed a bit last night and the temperature was 15 degrees with the windchill this morning. Jerry had to wait for the ice to melt off of the sideouts before he could put them back in.

Today we drove to Cody, WY (a more than four-hour drive from their place) and are at an RV park in the city. Tomorrow we will drive into Yellowstone National Park where we will be dry camping for as long as we can. Hope we don't freeze as the temperatures are getting quite low (especially at night).

Until next time, stay warm -- or for those of you in California, stay cool. We miss you all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

October 18, 2008

Hi Everyone,

Well -- we are relieved! All our fears about hanging around upper North Dakota in the third week of October just to make it to my 40-year Law School Class Reunion evaporated. Yes -- it seems cold and windy to us -- but NO SNOW! In fact, we find the weather refreshing.

We left Sean's farm yesterday morning (Friday) after digging up his yard with the wheels of our RV (see picture below). Turns out, all that rain made the ground wet and difficult for Jerry to get traction in the wheels to leave. (We needed Sean's help in getting the RV out.)

We then drove 85 miles from Fargo to Grand Forks. The Alerus Center in Grand Forks, where the reunion was scheduled, is hugh. (Neil Diamond will be there November 22.) The reunion was so much fun. It was interesting seeing classmates that, 40-43 years ago, I sat in classes with 5 days a week for three years. The personalities of each did not change -- but, obviously, other parts of them did. What we found most interesting and entertaining was that each person was invited up to the mike to summarize the last forty years. It was as if we were at a comedy show. Many laughs -- because at this age, what else can we do about the things that each of us did or that happened to us? And, it also gave us a better understanding on how differently each of us handled stepping out into the world after Law School. Some were quite adventurous -- trying various occupations and areas of the world to live. Others have stayed in the same house, doing the same job, in the same town -- from the date they left school until today. In fact, one person even calculated that he has driven the same street going to and from his work 56,000 times since graduation.

Unlike today, when 50% or more of all law school students in the United Stares are women, I was one of just two women in my class during my first two years, and the only woman in my class during my last year. (The other woman in the picture below was actually in the previous class, but ended up graduating with this class.)

Right now we are in an RV park in Jamestown, North Dakota, where we plan to stay for three days before going back to Bismarck (to get the stitches out of my right eye). It is 52 degrees outside.

Until next time, "life if not about things -- and things are not about life." (Quote from Mike Hucklebee)

Miss all of you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15, 2008


So here we are again (for the fourth time this year) back on Sean's farm. Like I said in my last blog, we are getting to see more of family and friends during this stage in our life than at any previous time. Of course, that also means that we are seeing less of our family and friends in California while we are out of the state. But hang in there everyone in California, we expect to be back into the state within the next month or two.

For the first five days that we were here in Fargo, it rained and rained and rained. Today and yesterday have been sunny, but cold and windy. It is expected to get below freezing tonight.

On Friday, we will head up to Grand Forks for my 40-year law school class reunion. After that, we plan to head back to Bismarck to have the stitches removed from my right eye. Had no problem with the cataract surgery on my left eye, but the right one gave the doctor some problems (mainly because I put super glue in it on last year's trip -- for those of you who remember that incident). As a result, my left eye is still blurry, but I have been assured by the technician at the doctor's office that my eye will clear up after the stitches are out. I certainly hope so.

What a ride we are having with the economy! The thing is, nearly everyone under 80 years old has never lived through a real depression. I'm not saying that we are in a depression right now, but we are certainly in the most serious financial crises that most of us have ever experienced before in our life times. Somehow, I have the feeling that, once the election over, the United States at least may have some idea where this country is going. And that may change things -- either for the good or not. It will solidify something at a very minimum in this uneasy
environment, even if it may take some time to put things into action. We are looking forward to hearing the last debate between Obama and McCain tonight. Then, this weekend, we are going to vote absentee. We just received our ballots yesterday with our mail that Pat sent to us.

On a more enjoyable topic, we were able to spend last weekend with our granddaughter, Angela. What a cutie (even if we have to brag about that). She is happy, self assured and very inquisitive -- and a joy to spend time with.

Both Jerry and I have been called to Jury Duty in San Luis Obispo. Luckily, they allow a one-time 6 month postponement. We are now scheduled to go in February 2009.

Jerry has been working on his book while we have this downtime in Fargo. He just completed his second draft. Keeps him out of trouble.

Until next time -- live the life you love. You only have this one to live right now. We miss everyone.

Jerry and Mary

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October 7, 2008

Hi Everyone,

Where to start! First of all, I had the cataract removed from my left eye last week in Bismarck, North Dakota. Tomorrow I will have the right one removed. I am more than pleased with the results so far. I just couldn't wait any longer -- so my opthalmologist in California missed out even though he knew I had cataracts and couldn't see out of my glasses for the last two years. Finally, I can see clearly - instead of seeing two of everything with my left eye. Can't wait to get the other one done tomorrw. In the meantime, there are lots of eye drops to contend with until this is all over. Now finally, when Jerry says as we travel "Mary, look at that." I can see what he's talking about.

But, we found time after my first surgery to go over to Minot to attend the Norst Hostfest, North America's largest Scandinavian Festival. There was entertainment every hour in five different venues, lots of Danish and Swedish foods to choose from, art and gifts representing that portion of the world and their heritage, hosts dressed in native garb, and many side show activities. We had an absolute ball!

There was the Johnny Cash Tribute by Sherwin Linton & The Cotton Kings (who Johnny Cash acknowledged when he was alive as the best of those imitating him -- and he really sounded like Johnny Cash, too), Kenny Rogers, Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Pride, Randy Travis, Peking Acrobats, Tribute to the Beatles by the Abbey Road Band, Patsy Kline Tribute by Kathy Bender (she sounded just like Patsy Kline) and too many other groups and performers to mention. There was also a wonderful performance by Daniel O'Donnell who flew over from Ireland. We had never heard of him even though he has been performing for over 27 years and the Festival had to add a third performance for him because he was sold out immediately. Both he and Kenny Rogers put on great shows and really worked with their audiences. We bought a couple of Mr. O'Donnell's CDs that we will play as we travel down the road.

Have to admit, I had three ice cream cones in one day in between performances and walking the floors. We heard that there were 12,000-15,000 people in attendance each day, including lots of Canadians. We definitely plan to come back to this Festival again in the future.

I've included a picture below of my brother's Laser Guided Cement Leveling Machine. He has a construction company and is the only one in Minot who has this unit. It allows him to pour and level five times as much cement in one day as the regular cement pouring process. The laser guided system automatically levels the cement to the designated height and angle. Cool!
Just because we haven't included a lot of personal family pictures on this blog, we had to include one of Tanner. Tanner is my nephew's six-month old baby boy. He is so cute and smiles a lot.

Lastly, here is something that we never thought about in the years we were working towards retirement. During those years, we were lucky if I saw my brothers and sisters once a year (usually at a wedding or funeral), except for my sister who at that time also lived in LA and I saw frequently. Now that we are semi-retired, we have had the wonderful opportunity to see my other brothers and sisters, and my son, Sean, and their families three or four times so far this summer. It's like when we were kids again and took each other's presence in our lives as commonplace. Just one more blessing of having made it through the hectic years and living this lifestyle.

Oh yes, I picked up my new bike when we were in Minot, but I have not had a chance to ride it yet. For one reason, it rained on Sunday in Minot. For another reason, I don't want to drive it on gravel. And, I really want my eyes to be healed before I take it out. Got a beautiful lavender helmet to go with it!!

On Thursday, we will drive to Fargo, North Dakota and spend a week on Sean's farm. Remember, he is the one who has all the goats. Looking forward to that.

I'm not going to comment on the stock market or the economy -- even though it is very much on my mind. Hopefully, we have hit the bottom and things will start looking up after the election (whoever wins).

Take care, everyone. We miss you -- but we love this way of living -- so you are in our thoughts until we make it to your area.

Jerry and Mary