Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MARDI GRAS


2/24/09---In Louisiana, Mardi Gras is celebrated each year with thousands of people lining the streets of many of the cities to watch parades. Costumes are also an important part of the celebration. On the last day, Lafayette has a costume judging prior to the final 3 parades of the season. One of the mcgees looks forward to participating in the competition! If you guessed Carol is the one in the pictures, you are correct! This years theme was "Sportsmans Paradise" for which the State is well known. She accented her costume with an alligator hat, a net on her back displaying various fishing lures, a net full of crab, fish, shrimp, crawfish and any other critter she could find. She wore the camouflage boots and shorts and towed a duck to represent the hunters. Certainly a crowd pleaser as the judges awarded her "Best Theme".


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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

SKATING



2/22/09---In Gillette, Wy Mom (Beth) & I (Allen) went to the new Wyoming Center located at the Camplex. The new building supports a full size ice skating rink. The Gillette Figure Skating Club put on a very enjoyable show. There were 19 girls ranging in ages from 8 to 16 who were nicely dressed in various costumes, and some used small props to accent their performances. I am writing this so brother Keith will know what his mother and I have been doing. After the performance a couple of pictures were taken to show the 8 year old skater Morgan Hecker, her mother Shelly Hecker and grandfather Donald Spielman. Donald is a cousin to Keith & me. Of course, Mom and I had to have our pictures taken with the skater.

Monday, February 23, 2009

POWER PLANT



2/21/09---Meanwhile back in Wyoming I (Allen) took a trip around parts of Campbell County.


A new school has been built in Recluse which is located about 5 miles North of the ranch where Carol grew up and went to school. (By the way she is home in Youngsville, LA working on a custume to wear for the Mardi Gras Competition on Feb 24th.)


There is lots of coal activity in the Gillette, Wy area where a new power plant is under construction. About 475 million tons of coal is produced each year. Most of it is shipped to 35 other states by rail.

TUSCALOOSA

2/20/09---Keith and Maryann made a road trip to Tuscaloosa, AL.





















Hi from Maryann! So here are our pix from today’s excursion to Tuscaloosa. The first ones are the “field art” by the side of Highway 43 about 10 miles north of Demopolis.










The military ones came from a “Veterans Park” we came across while driving on McFarland Avenue in Tuscaloosa. They had some small black walls (like the Vietnam Wall in WA) that listed the names of their state’s war dead. Unfortunately they were very reflective, and there was no way to take pictures of them without being mirrored in them. (I tried one & wasn’t happy with the results.) Keith & I had a good time. We actually drove over there to go to a really nice health food store, & it turned out to be a fun field-trip too! And of course we pigged-out at Arby’s and had TCBY frozen yogurt for desert! A perfect day.

FUEL DOCK



2/18/09---Maryann's report of activity on and near the boat.

Keith said just to tell you that he and the other Keith over at the gas dock have been solving the problems of the world over multiple cups of coffee during the past few weeks. Picture of the 2-Keiths is shown.



It has been typical spring here – unsettled. We’ve had days of sun interspersed with days of wind and rain, and sometimes all 3 on the same day! Just a few minutes ago we had lightning, thunder & hail. It’s still raining lightly; we’ll see what develops later... (The weatherman on TV said we are in an area that has a chance of tornadoes today – yuck!)

Keith & I drove over to Meridian, MS, on Friday the 13th to shop. It was a rainy day, but it was still fun to go somewhere else. Our first stop was Olive Garden, where we enjoyed their soup, salad & breadstick lunch – perfect for warming us up! We found a health food store with a helpful lady proprietor who gave us telephone directions x 2 to her location. Unfortunately they were “female directions” (according to Keith), so they were 180 degrees off. After the second phone call and with blind luck, we found her. Her little store didn’t have much of what we needed, but getting to meet her was an absolute joy. She reminded me of an older Dolly Parton (don’t go there, Allen – that’s NOT what I’m talking about); she had a great sense of humor, and her voice & mannerisms were pure Southern Sweetness.

You know me - I spend my days exercising, cooking, cleaning, reading and doing my Juice Plus+ business. I’ve been promoting Prevention Plus+ events in 3 states this week. I will be hosting a Lunch & Learn next week in honor of American Heart Month (see attachment). My goal is to meet more of our neighbors and share info about heart health.

We had temporary neighbors for 2 nights – a sailboat named Blo Mee (is that clever or bad or both?) was docked on our port side. They have moved over to dry storage in order to have their bottom re-painted before warm weather hits. Like some of the folks around her, they will live aboard their boat while it is on land. (I don’t know that I would trust boat jacks etc that much!)

I am becoming more involved with the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church. Last week I went to the Women’s Circle and participated in their Bible Study. It was good. My friend that I met last time is still “kicking”, even though she is greatly troubled with arthritis. Knowing of some of the problems facing folks in the congregation has added more requests to my daily prayer-list. (I wonder if God ever tires of being nagged by us humans?!)




In the meantime I (Allen) am still in "Wonderful Wyoming" where the deer and the antelope play.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

PLAN/PICS

Feb. 17, 2009

I call my wife (Carol) daily to encourage her to keep up the good work at home in getting our taxes figured. I know Obama is anxious for us to send some additional funds to Washington DC.

There are still some friends in the Gillette area that I hope to visit before making the journey back to Youngsville.

Keith and Maryann are on the Dream Manor in Demopolis, AL. They made a three day trip to Mempis after returning from Florida. Otherwise they have been on the boat. It is great they are taking care of the vessel!
I am looking forward to when Carol and I can join them.

Maryann sent me some pictures she took while walking. She is a dedicated walker and often travels parks and streets observing things the rest of us might not notice. There was a truck load of buoys that had been displaced from the summer floods. They are probably on the way to a repair facility. Notice the price of Coca Cola on the "old" building.

MUSICAL

Feb. 16, 2008

Keith’s daughter, Stephanie and her companion, Todd, took Mom and me to a school program. Steph’s 8 year old son Max, along with his class mates put on a terrific musical. Their teacher played the piano and the boys and girls proudly sang a dozen songs. The children were delightful and they looked great all dressed up for the show. A good time was had by all.
Upon returning to Mom's apartment the sounds of music continued as she played the piano for Max.

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WY ARRIVAL

2/7/09-2/15/09

Feb. 7th I drove the last 250 miles to my home town, Gillette, WY. By now you readers may be asking yourselves why I drove 1650 miles. I wanted to surprise someone special. I had not informed Mother that I was coming to see her. I called her from my cell phone as I walked down the hall to her apartment. As I knocked on the door, she continued to talk to me on the phone. What a look of surprise, shock and confusion on Mother’s face when she opened the door and saw me standing there! Notice she is still on the phone.


The last 10 days or so have gone by quickly as I helped Mother deep clean her apartment. It has been a treat for her to eat out with myself and other family members. We have played many cribbage games. She is a tough competitor and skunks me occasionally. My nephew, Danny and his wife Anna have joined us a several times for some great games. They also showed the great craftsmanship in their home. It is work they have done themselves is creating a wonderful, warm environment.

TO WY

2/3/09-2/6/09---Having returned from Florida, Fed 3rd was spent doing laundry and repacking. The national weather map showed favorable conditions throughout the Midwest. Winter is not the best time to travel to WY, but when it gets really nice it will be time to go boating. I left Youngsville on the 4th and drove 600 miles to Oklahoma City. I spent the night with a good friend Phil Iverson. The next day he took some time off from work and we visited the Memorial Museum. It makes the heart heavy to be on the soil where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building once stood. The bombing of this building on April 19, 1995 killed 168 men, women and children. The Field of Empty Chairs symbolizes the loss of life. The 19 smaller chairs represent the children that lost their lives. Phil looks somber by the Reflecting Pool. The Survivor Tree is an American elm over 90 years old. It stands as a symbol of human resilience. After that experience we went to the Western Gallery. It is a wonderful museum that depicts Indian history, migration of settlers and emphasizes the great American cowboys and rodeo legends. There is lots of great art, gun collections and bronze figures. The End of The Trail sculpture is awesome, and of course John Wayne and Abraham Lincoln are easy to recognize. I spent the night again at Phil’s nice home. Feb 6th was travel day and a long day it was. I spent nearly 12 hours on the road traveling out of Oklahoma, thru Kansas and Colorado into Wyoming. I ended the 800 mile day in Cheyenne. A nights rest was very welcome.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

HOMES

2/2/09---Carol and I returned home to Youngsville, LA while Keith and Maryann returned to the boat in Demopolis, Alabama. We will join them later. All is well!

In case you lost track, it will be necessary to open January in the archives and read that info to get you updated on the Florida trip.
More adventures will be reported in the future.

SUPER BOWL XLIII



2/1/09---As we crossed Tampa Bay it seemed fitting to take a picture of our dedicated chauffeur. Keith enjoys driving and does a good job of transporting us around the country. Leaving the Bay area we waved at the Raymond James Stadium where the Super Bowl will take place tonight. We made our way thru central Florida and into the panhandle about 60 miles west of Tallahassee. There we spent the night at the same motel in Marriana where we had met a week ago. What good luck, my car was still there! We settled in and watched the Super Bowl in comfort. It was a great game! Keith & I cheered for the underdog while Carol sat on the edge of her seat rooting for the Steelers. Maryann enjoyed some rest, showing little concern about the results.

YANMAR

1/31/09---After playing all week, the day of business arrived. The justifiable purpose of this trip was to attend a one day class on Yanmar diesel engines. The full day, 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., passed quickly, as it was made very interesting by instructor Rick Myrick at the Mastry Engine Center. There were 14 boat enthusiasts in attendance. The Mastry family has been involved with the Yanmars for many years and Rick has 140 dealers working his area from Kentucky to the Bahamas. Keith & I learned a great deal about the operation and maintenance of the engines. Anyone operating diesels would certainly benefit from this class.


Sunset was terrific on our last evening. The motel has quite a collection of 13 very large Iguanas on display. They too were enjoying the sun