Sunday, August 14, 2022

Moving Along but still in PA

Bob and I left Manheim, PA on Sunday morning, heading west. We crossed the mighty Susquehanna River before noon and continued on.

Our GPS kept trying to reroute us around the four under-the-mountain tunnels along the Pennsylvania Turnpike but we were familiar with the route and didn’t deviate our course.

We are spending just one night outside of Pittsburgh before moving on to Ohio tomorrow. While outside, Bob noticed this little creature about the size of a hamster sitting near the coach. Rather than running away, it froze in fear when we got close. I took this picture, then used Google Photos to identify it as a vole.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before.

We’ll be two nights at our next stop in Ohio which will be nice. I’m feeling better but still tire easily.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Eight Blogiversary and Covid

Last week I had a fun day with daughter Catherine and grandkids Alex, Rob, and Jillian, painting the walls of Catherine’s newly renovated front porch. Back in December of 2020, the driver of a pickup truck lost control of his vehicle, bounced off a telephone pole on the driver’s side, then slid sideways into Catherine’s front porch. The porch was knocked askew and had to be rebuilt. It was finally finished this summer and now was ready to be painted. Everyone had an important role to play. Rob, Alex, and I did the painting while Catherine, who had twisted her ankle the previous week, was seated in the center of the room to alert us to any drips. Jillian was the designated time keeper. It really was fun! It looks so pretty in blue.

By the end of the day, however, Catherine was dragging, and she told me she was feeling a little under the weather. And the next day she tested positive for Covid.

I’m so grateful that new treatments have become available. She was able to call her local urgent care, had a telehealth professional call her right back, and was prescribed Paxlovid which she started right away. Such an easy process—no schlepping to an ER and waiting for hours to be seen.

The next day I tested positive and got right on Paxlovid as well. It’s an amazing medication, and wishing 12 hours I felt so much better. Apart from a seriously icky taste in my mouth, I had no problems with it. And that was worth it to have the fever, body aches, and headache under control. The only symptom left after 4 out of the 5 days of antiviral treatment is a lingering fatigue that is a little better each day. I’ll continue to isolate from the rest of the world while we travel, until I can be around people again.

Bob is fine, by the way. He must have a pretty strong immune system because he didn’t get sick at all.

Today Bob and I left NJ for our trip west. This summer just flew by. I know I say that every year but this summer was gone in a blink. So strange. And today marks eight years since I started this blog and we were preparing to drive away from our house. So much has changed. It’s been a good eight years.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Rhode Island Family Party

It’s been a few years since we traveled to one of my sister Wendy’s summer parties and this year we made it! Bob and I left the motorhome behind since going up to RI for the weekend takes a lot of planning (reserving a campground months in advance) and the costs would be prohibitive. Crossing the GW Bridge alone with a MH towing a car costs $95 and that’s just one toll of many. Toll charges for three axles add up. Plus fuel costs: 8 mpg times roughly $6/gallon times 350 miles round trip. I’ll let you do the math. 

So for those reasons we hopped in the car and just went. It took about seven total hours of driving to get to Wendy’s house since we hit traffic, but we stopped at my nephew’s new house to see it and some of the family who were staying there before continuing on to Portsmouth. Wendy had her beautiful new guest room all set up and it was so comfortable, like a 5-star B&B. We helped Wendy and her husband Bill set up for the party the next day. And what a fun day it was! The weather was perfect, my three sisters and my brother were all there as well as most of the in-laws and lots of niece and nephews, and we had a blast.

Auggie was a little angel although he did fall in the pool twice and needed to be rescued each time as he has never been a swimmer. He ended up sleeping through most of the party under my chair. I guess nearly drowning takes a lot out of a dog!

Our trip home was much easier and we hit very little traffic for a Sunday so that was a relief. Going through NYC is never fun.

We have less than a week left until our scheduled departure from NJ. How does time go so fast?

Friday, August 5, 2022

GrandCamp 2022 part 2

We sure packed a lot into Ben’s GrandCamp this year! Besides doing daily swimming and S’mores, we took him to Indian Echo Caverns, a cool place to visit on a hot summer day. I mean, literally cool. Temperatures are always 52 degrees in the caves no matter how hot it gets outside. Ben really seemed to enjoy the tour, and Bob and I do as well.

We visited a pretzel factory and saw how pretzels were made in the 1800s. We also learned that the hard pretzel came after the soft pretzel and was created by Julius Sturgis in Lititz, PA. As an aside, these pretzels are now being made by Tom Sturgis and if you think all pretzels are the same you should try Tom Sturgis pretzels. They have a different kind of crunch and are now my favorite kind.

Of course we had to play some miniature golf!  Ben has gotten quite good and really enjoys it. 

After miniature golf he asked to go to the Toy Train Museum so off we went. It’s been years since I’ve been there and it was as much fun for me as for Ben. He loved the Lego train, especially.

We were both fascinated with some of the displays. On our last day we drove out to Gettysburg, about 90 minutes away, to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitors Center. Bob and I were eager to show him the Cyclorama, a massive oil painting 377 feet long, 42 feet high, and weighing 12.5 tons. One stands on a viewing platform and the painting encircles you. 

This is just a small part of it. You really feel like you are in the middle of the battle when viewing it.

This was Ben’s first introduction to the Civil War and he was fascinated.

Next I’ll tell you all about our trip to Rhode Island for a family party.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

GrandCamp 2022 part 1

We always look forward to GrandCamp with the grandkids who still want to camp with us, and we had a blast again this year. We chose to revisit Lancaster County since we had so much fun here three years ago (has it really been that long?)  Alex and Jillian were up first, and despite a slightly shorter time with us (due to a combination of volunteering commitments and summer programs) they had a blast. They enjoyed S’mores and swimming daily.

When we take them swimming, Bob and I take turns so that one gets swim time and the other gets an hour or so to ourself every other day. Sometimes we do chores and other times we relax.

We visited the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum where they learned about living in the olden days. Jillian enjoyed the tinsmith shop where she modeled a tin bonnet and floral bouquet.

They both enjoyed the exhibits throughout the visitors center.

One of the favorite things for the GrandCampers when we are in the Lancaster area is to eat at Shady Maple Smorgasbord, reportedly the biggest and best in the area if not the country. This place is huge and has so many choices.

Miniature golf is also a regular activity for GrandCamp and all of the children’s skills have grown over the years. We chose a course near the park that was a lot of fun.

All while GrandCamp was going on, I was able to spend a few minutes a day to spin a little yarn. Each year during the Tour de France bicycle race, Ravelry spinners have an event termed Tour de Fleece. It’s a pretty flexible event; spinners set their own goals (mine were to spin daily for at least 15 minutes) and to post progress photos. Because of the event taking place at the same time as GrandCamp, time to spin was very limited. However, I managed to fit some in while we were in the car or at the crack of dawn before anyone else was up. I used a variety of spindles.  

Tomorrow I’ll write about Ben’s GrandCamp.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Catherine’s Birthday Surprise

This past month, daughter Catherine had a milestone birthday, and her siblings decided to make it special. Plans began to bring her sister, Emily, in from Idaho to surprise her. Originally the idea was to gather at a restaurant in Philadelphia and Emily would be already seated when Catherine arrived, but plans evolved as plans often do, and on the evening before her actual big day the family gathered at Catherine’s house for Chinese takeout. And in walked Emily. How fun! It was great to see the four siblings reunited, since they hadn’t been together in three years.

Em was able to stay for the next day as well, and we all took the train into Philadelphia for lunch at Reading Terminal Market. She spent the next day with her dad before flying home to her family, bringing along a NJ girlfriend (and her two kids) who will be staying with Emily and Anthony for a week or so.

And Catherine had a birthday she won’t soon forget!

Friday, July 15, 2022


Ah summer! We are enjoying the lovely weather and having fun with family. Here are some of the highlights since June 1.

I got to spend a few hours with my friend April. In her spare time she makes comfort dolls that are given to Alzheimer’s patients, using an antique sock knitting machine.

Our grandson Ben graduated from middle school last month and Kristen and I went to his graduation. He’s growing up so fast!

I showed Jillian how to make a 7-thread fill-the-gap braid and she picked it right up, making herself a braided bracelet.

We were dog sitters for Kristen and Jason’s French Bulldog mix, Indy, for about ten days. While there was some “discussion” over who had the right to nap on the dog bed, Indy and Auggie had a ball together.

I sewed up a Bible cover, then wove four different bands as bookmarks. I’m tickled to see how it came out. Fabric is from Spoonflower.

I have owned many spinning wheels over the years, and have sold them all. But I got the urge to start spinning again so I now have a Louet S10C wheel and I’m loving it. Between my wheel and my spindles (many of which have been handmade by Bob) I’m spinning daily. Jillian is even learning how to spin.

Bob has been very busy of course, and has finished renovating this garage door for Kristen and Jason. It is original to the property and is over 100 years old. 

GrandCamp starts the end of next week and we are looking forward to it. We’ll be in PA this year. More on that as it happens! And tomorrow I’ll post about Catherine’s birthday surprise.