Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas at the Park

Here's a little slide show of Christmas Eve and Christmas day festivities at Rockport 35 RV Park.

Rain Report for December 30

Here's the "official" rainfall report for Rockport 35 RV park as of the rain which ended this morning.

A Plug for Pepitos

Pat and I tried Pepitos for lunch today and found it quite satisfying.

Pepito's is the little yellow Mexican restaurant on the extreme northern edge of Aransas Pass, on the west side of Business 35.

They offer four versions of a Senior Plate Special for $4.95. We tried two of them and both were very good, and certainly adequate in quantity.

When we arrived, about 12:30, it was fairly busy—and noisy! But that sometimes adds to the ambiance, right? Before we left, most of the lunch crowd had left and it was much quieter.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Intelligent Transportation


Near to far:

Not so smart, Smart, Really smart


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Movie "Avatar"

Have you seen it?

I'm interested in the 3D technology, but the story doesn't excite me at all.

Should I see it or not???

Mystery Digger Strikes Again!

Photo of mystery diggerEach of the last two Mondays, a "mystery digger" has attacked the water lines here at Rockport 35 RV Park. This week's event was down near the office, adjacent to the dog run.

This week's leak required a smaller "mess" but was more challenging than last week's. But the Mystery Digger, Tony's trusty John Deere, and able helpers were able to complete the task today to the point of getting the water turned back on.

There was plenty of encouragement from every passer-by, without which we might still be waterless.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gordon's Completed Carving

Photo of Gordon with carving.You probably recall that we have some talented wood carvers here at Rockport 35 RV park.

Gordon is one of them, shown here with a completed relief carving which he worked on most of last year. He did a great job!

He credits John, professional-grade carver currently parked next to the entrance gate, with giving some suggestions for the finishing touches!

Belt Sander Races TODAY!

Belt sander races will be held at 3PM today at the Rusty Pelican.

In case this is a new cultural event for you, check it out here:

Friday, December 18, 2009

How Much Rain Did We Get?

Photo of Keith's rain gauge. Title=

New Water Line


Sunday Pat discovered a water leak in our front yard. Monday, the work crew got right on it!

Water to the entire park was off only a couple of hours and water to those of us affected (west side of north Third Street) was back on late in the afternoon.

The new line provides two benefits to park residents:
  • Increased water pressure to those using the new line, because of the greater diameter of the new pipe, and

  • More flexibility in turning off water to parts of the park instead of the entire park because new shut-off valves were installed.
These changes have now been made to about half the water lines in the park.

Good job, Tony and crew!

Is it deep enough?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Computers on Tuesday!

Tomorrow, December 15, we'll start a weekly "computer help session" at 2PM in the Club House.

This isn't a formal class with a set course of study. Instead, it is an opportunity for those with computer questions or desires to come, state their problem or desire, and see if I or another attendee can help them.

Usually, the list of "problems" includes one or more topics which can be turned into a mini lesson on that subject.

If there is interest, in coming weeks I'll hold one or more computer classes covering specific subjects. At the Tuesday session, we can discuss potential subjects.

Bring your computer, and power supply if needed, and come Tuesday! (Computer NOT required.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

January 25 is the Day

This season's version of the patriotic concert put on by the Rockport-Fulton High School Music Department will be held January 25 at the wonderful HS auditorium.

The stage is filled by about 200 musicians who make up the band and several choirs. They present several familiar patriotic songs and each year a few which we have not heard before. They do a superb job!

The concert is free, but a free-will offering is accepted as the audience leaves. Funds are used by the music department to participate in events they would not otherwise be able to afford.

Pat and I and Tom and Dianne consider this a don't-miss event each year. If you want to hear some good music and see young citizens at their finest, put it on your to-do list for January 25.

See you there!

Naturalists Take Note

Do you ever check out the news articles over in the right-hand margin? Sometimes there are articles which I find rather interesting.

Right now, there's an article about the loss of whooping cranes up at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. That's only a bit over 20 miles north of us.

If you're at all interested in the environment, click on the article and read it. I learned a lot about the area by doing so.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"We're Glad We're Here!"

Two Iowa ladies discuss how glad they are to be at Rockport 35 RV park instead of back in Iowa!

Photo of Pat and Linda
Pat (left) and Keith arrived today, having left Cedar Rapids a week ago. Linda (right) and Terry have been here for a few weeks already.

Friends back home have reported about a foot of snow in the last two days. Winds gusting to 37 mph have blown it around and caused numerous closings.

We're glad we're here!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Special Day at the Pickle Factory

Saturday, December 5, is Christmas in Taft.

A "special feature" of the town's celebration of the coming of Christmas will be an Open House at the Pickle Factory!

If you've not been there before, this would be a good time to go! Make sure you meet David Smith, the "picklesmith," as he's an interesting person.

Take a few bucks; you just might end up wanting to take some of their good tasting products home or mail some to friends.

We had a great tour of the Pickle Factory last season. If you wish, you can go back into the archives on his site and see a slide show of the visit. See it here:
http://rockport-rv35.blogspot.com/2009/02/pickle-factory-pictures.html

Monday, November 30, 2009

Greetings from Jim and Choyce

We've missed them at the park the last couple of years, but did hear from them the other day:

Keith,
How are you and Pat doing? I was just surfing and came on your blog. Choyce and I are doing well, we're getting ready to head south as soon as Christmas is over. How's everything at Rockport 35? Do all the same folks still come down? If Choyce ever gets tired of walking on the beach we may come down. We really enjoyed the few years we were there. Tell Allison & Tony and others we said Hi.

Jim and Choyce Capehart

Jim is the brother of Joanne Hickman and favored us with plenty of guitar music at the jam sessions.

This site, as Jim discovered, is a good way to keep up with your friends from the Rockport 35 RV Park all year long.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Our National Anthem the Right Way



Do you enjoy the singing of our National Anthem by today's "stars" who feel the need to embellish it for us? If you don't, I think you'll enjoy and appreciate the rendition provided by the men and women of our service acadamies in the above YouTube clip.

This was presented a few years ago at the Super Bowl game.

This is the way I like it sung; hope you enjoy it, too.

Thanks to Julee, who sent it to me, we can all enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Julee Arrives; Rockport Social Season Begins

I just received word that Tom and Julee arrived at Rockport 35 RV Park late Monday.

Tom already has his fishing license and Julee has her wi-fi hooked up and is working down her list of emails.

Julee said it is hard to get anything done because there are so many people who stop to say, "Hi!"

But that's one of the neat things about this park: all the great people who chose to live there, for "ever," for the winter, or for a week or month. It's like going home! And for us it will be, as this will be our fifth winter there.

Tomorrow Julee'll be at the Women's Club playing bridge, I suspect.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An Experiment



This is posted more-or-less as an experiment. To see if I could do it and if it would work, really. (I could, and it does!) As Pat reminded me, "it really doesn't have anything to do with Rockport 35 RV Park."

True. But I'd be glad to see you; aren't you glad to see me?

Reference is made to a contest on The Lime Springs Page. That's a site, sort of a blog, actually, related to my hometown. The contest is to identify those in a 50+ year old picture. Readers of this site are highly unlikely to be winners, but try if you wish!
It's here: http://ls4.us

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Portraits

You might have read that back in August Pat and I took the trailer to Washburn, WI, where she attended a workshop on painting with watercolors. One of the subjects covered was painting portraits.

photo of watercolor protrait of Chet Until this class, she had generally avoided portraits because her images didn't seem to come out looking enough like the original subject to be acceptable.

That all changed because of the class! There, she learned a relatively easy way to create portraits. (Easy for artists, that is. It's still magic to me.)

Here's a sample with which she is nearly finished. This was from a photo I took last winter. Because we know the person, we know that the person and the photo both have plenty of "character"—always good for a painting.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eagles

Yesterday Pat and I took advantage of the rare beautiful day and took our annual "leaf drive." The leaves were well past their peak, but we always enjoy getting out on the curvy, little-traveled, roads of NE Iowa.

The first observation of note was this lone eagle perched in a tree.

Further on, we saw another in a tree, then two soaring over the Mississippi River at Guttenberg while we were eating lunch. On the way home, there were two in a field, feasting on a dead deer.

Altogether, we saw six eagles in four different locations. A new eagle-spotting record for us!

The brilliant yellows and reds had faded from the leaves but there were many shades of browns. Still, they were pretty to us.

We only saw about three combines in the fields. Harvesting in Iowa is nearly three weeks behind normal, due to wet weather. Even the soybeans are not all harvested yet.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Marvelous Painting

The link below will take you to a web page showing a very interesting painting.

The page includes notes by the artist regarding why certain things are as they are in the painting.

Clearly, the artist is trying to send a political message with this painting. You can ignore that—if you wish. But take a few moments and run the cursor over some of the faces in the painting. What a history lesson!

This would be great to do with your grandkids or neighbor kids! There are lots and lots of lessons to be learned or taught lurking right in this one picture!

Thank You, Allison, for sharing this!

Here's the link: http://www.mcnaughtonart.com/artwork/view_zoom/?artpiece_id=353

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Computer Talk: Chrome

Last night I read a 30-page description, written in comic book style, of the browser by Google, called Chrome. It sounded as if it had lots to offer, including increased speed, so I thought I'd load it onto my computer and try it.

I like it! You might, also.

The browser is the program on your computer which you use to browse the web. Most use Internet Explorer, because that is what comes on just about every non-Mac computer produced.

Some, including me, use Firefox. For one reason, not using Internet Explorer, a Microsoft product, is one part of my little protest against Microsoft.

I'm not an enemy of Bill Gates, mind you. He has created a company whose success must be admired. And he does great things with his and Warren Buffet's money.

I'm protesting the company's products! They don't work as they should. They break. They need frequent upgrading to get rid of problems. Anyway, enough of that.

Google Chrome is simple in appearance and operation and complex in what it does. One of the neatest things is that there is only one box into which you type whatever it is you're looking for. If you want to search, type it in the box. If you want to go to a website, type it in the same box. Pretty simple. And it works.

And, based on my limited use of it,it does appear to be faster! This was especially noted while loading the weather radar from Intellicast.

Installing it in your computer is easy. You can do it! And if you check the right box while it is being installed, it will import your bookmarks (favorites) from you current browser.

If you try it and have questions, I'll try to answer them at the Computer Help Sessions beginning December 15. Or if you don't want to wait, email me and I'll see what I can do to help remotely.

To get Chrome, go here: http://www.google.com/chrome

The View

Photo of pretty trees, seen from Keith's window.The picture here is the view I have when I sit at my computer and look out the window.

We always enjoy the beautiful colors of Fall. Usually, we take a "leaf drive" to McGregor in NE Iowa. There are lots of pretty leaves and wide green valleys there to make the drive worthwhile.

We had planned to go this past Tuesday. Unfortunately, the prediction was that it would be raining most of the day. Besides, Sunday I had flown to Dubuque, then West Union, then back to Cedar Rapids and saw few brilliant colors. So we cancelled the trip.

Last Sunday, the leaves here in CR were mostly green, with some turned. But it was not a sea of color.
Yesterday it was a different story! The leaves have mostly turned , with some being brilliant red! What a difference three days made!

But today is hard on leaves. It's rained about an inch and has been very windy. The leaves aren't fairing well, so yesterday might have been the peak day for beautiful leaves, at least here in CR.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

That Was Easy!

When a product or service from a store is unsatisfactory for any reason, the world deserves to know about it so the forces of the free market can go to work to correct the problem, even if it means the demise of a product or a store. (Or even a car manufacturer, but I digress.)

By the same token, everyone also deserves to know about something that works right. I have such an instance to report.

A couple of days ago, I went shopping at our local Staples store. They had some great specials and rebates and I wanted to get my share!

Three different items which I purchased offered rebates, and two of them offered rebates for up to two of the items— rather unusual in itself.

Staples offers the customer the choice of a mail-in rebate or an on-line rebate which requires NOTHING to be mailed. I'm for the on-line version!

The amazing thing about this process is that it does not require one single keystroke which is unnecessary! Amazing!

If Staples can be that user friendly, why can't every merchant?

There, that was easy!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Why haven't there been many recent posts?

I've been occupied, both physically and mentally, for the last month.

One of my only two Williams cousins was critically ill with heart problems in Rochester, MN. We visited him and his wife Sharla on three occasions.

He had surgery on two subsequent days to install auxiliary pumps. From this, he never recovered. After over a month of unconsciousness, it was deemed that he would never recover so nature was allowed to take its course.

His funeral was last week in Brainerd, MN.

The good news is that the sad occasion gave us an opportunity to see his three daughters, their husbands, and their seven children. They live in Georgia, Indiana, and China.

I have a new flight student which keeps me busy on nice days. The goal is for him to get his Private Pilot License before we leave for Rockport 35 RV Park. As a practical matter, that means we should attempt to get it before Thanksgiving.

We have told Allison that we will be at the park December 11. I suspect we might arrive a few days before that. We are allowing a few days to spend with our Workamping friends who are at a Corps of Engineers park just NE of Dallas on the way down.

And a few days ago, I discovered and started to fix a hydraulic leak in the slide mechanism on the trailer. Messy.

I am now feeling the squeeze! The rest of the summer's work to do and only a few weeks to get it done.

Those are a few of the reasons updates have been few and far between recently. Of course another reason is that I've not heard from you so don't have your comments or articles to post.

A Different Keith Williams

To all who were wondering or confused:

The Keith Williams who was wearing a white shirt with the red number 68 on it last night during the Missouri/Nebraska football game was a different Keith Williams.

Now you know.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rumor Untrue

In case you have heard the rumor that I will be appearing on a popular TV program beginning tonight, I feel compelled to set the record straight.

I will not be appearing on "Dancing With the Stars."


Allison might be, but I will not.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Update from Rocky

A week or so ago, I received this update from Rocky, 2nd Street residents. They were late in arriving, you may recall, because on the way to Rockport from Michigan someone ran into the rear of their 5er and totaled it. They finally arrived with a brand new trailer.

Now the update, slightly edited for length:

Hi Keith,

Carol and I are looking forward to our 2,000 mile journey from Northern Michigan to Rockport Texas. The year 2009 has tested our walk in faith with a vengeance. You probably remember our experience of last winter when we arrived in Rockport a month late. (Related above)

Exactly six months later--July 6th, 2009, I took Carol into the emergency room because of severe pains in her abdomen. Subsequent to a Cat-Scan, Ultrasound and several doctors examinations, it was determined that they would have to open her up to do an exploratory surgery because the cause of the discomfort was simply unknown. An OB/GYN did the initial incision and checked all of her female organs and found nothing irregular. Then the other surgeon took over and found that Carol's appendix had grown abnormally and had wrapped itself around her ovary and colon. They removed the appendix and adhesions, kept her in the hospital for three days and then sent her home to recover.

Three weeks later, Carol was experiencing pain in the incision area and we went back to the doctor and they found that she had a Staph infection. Guess what, another 4 to 6 weeks of recovery time.

On July 28th, we had a power outage due to an automobile accident down the road and it created a "brown out" electrical condition and our submersible well pump ceased up. We had to have the old pump, all of the wiring and the pipe removed and an entire new system installed.

As you can see, we have experienced some "Bumps-In-The-Road" during this year of 2009, but we are confident and thankful knowing fully that our Heavenly Father, The Holy Spirit and our Brother Jesus is at our side always. And we are anxiously awaiting our departure date for Rockport, Texas around the first week in January 2010.

That's it for now......Rocky

Through "Him" Everything Is Good!


Another TEA Party Saturday!

If you're at the park or in the area, join Rockport locals at the next TEA (Taxed Enough, Already) Party at the Park. If you aren't in the area, check to see when the next one in your area is and participate! This is one way to get involved in our government and make a difference.


Of course if you are satisfied with the current conditions and are willing to accept whatever comes your way, stay home and prepare to watch the game, go fishing, or whatever, on Saturday.



If you can’t march on Washington

On September 12th

COME TO OUR
LOCAL TEA PARTY!

The Rockport 9/12 Conservatives Group

is having a tea party and you are invited!...

Saturday, September 12 · 9:00 a.m.

Rockport 35 RV Park

4851 Hwy 35 N

Local radio talk show host Bob Jones of

1440 EYS will be our guest speaker

Join us and keep the grassroots movement going.

WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!

For more information call Don Durand at

361-729-9681 or Jim Little at 361-463-9170

or email: don7832@sbcglobal.net

Introducing Leah Paige Woodrich

Tuesday was an exciting day: we learned the news for which we'd been waiting the better part of nine months! It was a girl!

Little Miss Leah Paige is our second great-granddaughter. She was born Tuesday and we raced to Owatonna, MN, to see her on Wednesday.

Mother, father, and big sister Molly, 16 mo., are doing fine.

She weighed in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces. (I know that is always of great interest to some; why, I'm not sure.)

She has all her visible parts and they all seem to be in fine working order. What a marvelous creation is the human body!

Carlson Update

I know it's late, but hope you'll appreciate this info from Dianne Carlson:

Hi Keith,

Since I was raised in Munger, a little farming community, 11 miles SE of Bay City, I am drawn back each year for the annual potato festival. Potatoes are their major crop. The festival is run by all volunteers from the community and even from those of us who have left but always go back to reconnect with old school mates and friends. It's a fun time.

Rick's garden continues to grow and produce tasty vegetables. We've already canned red beets and green beans and we've been enjoying fresh carrots, radishes, onions, cucumbers. When Rick isn't gardening or working at the golf course, he's out fishing on the bay. This morning he has the twin 14 year old grandkids out for a little walleye fishing.

Dick and Lucille have been managing to keep themselves busy with those necessary little projects that accumulate while away and those maintenance jobs the 5th wheel needs before going back on the road. They've been spending time with their local granddaughter and great grandson stocking up on hugs/kisses (if that's possible) before they head back to Texas in just 2 short months and visiting the out of State grands and greats.

So I guess the answer is "yes" we've all been having an enjoyable summer -- which is going by tooo fast, as always.

Glad to hear you too are having a wonderful summer. Hello to Pat.

Dianne and Rick

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Way Behind

I guess I'm just too busy.

Or is it that I am just too slow?

Anyway, for whatever the reason, I'm way behind. Dianne sent me an update on the Carlson's summer weeks ago. Still not published. Dianne, care to send a current update—I promise I'll do better.

And I have an update from Rocky regarding he and Carol's summer.

And just today, a note from Allison which I'll try to relate.

Anyway, I DO appreciate hearing from you and try to get news I feel your friends and neighbors will be interested in on this site in a timely manner.

A bit of explanation: Four days away from home over the Labor Day weekend, and a brand new great-granddaughter to visit tomorrow do not speed the publishing process.

Artistic Sand Painting

Julee sent a link to this on YouTube. Thanks, Julee!

If you have any appreciation for artistry (drawing, painting, etc.) I urge you to spend the eight-plus minutes to watch it.

In general, it's a story of war. But even if you just concentrate on the unique transitions from one scene to the other, it's worth a watch.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Temptation is Great

Oh, how great is the temptation to post political comments on this site!

But I hope to refrain.

Turning this into a discussion site for politics would mark the beginning of the end of this site's purpose, which is to give those interested in Rockport 35 RV Park a "daily newspaper."

Two more reasons not to do it:
  • There are plenty of other places for such comments, and

  • Most—but certainly not all— readers of this site probably are of the same general political mind as I am.
If you have strong feelings for what's going on in your country, state, city, or neighborhood, get involved! One person (that could be you!) can make a difference. That is especially true when there are a whole bunch of "one persons" just like you!

In recent elections, the vote has been divided very nearly 50-50 in several contests. In those cases, the vote of just one person really does matter!!!

Don't let your experience, your knowledge, your principles, or your vote go to waste.

Get involved!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chet's Home!

We've been on vacation and that's disrupted getting news onto this site promptly. But I know you're interested in this:

Photo of Chet on his staff car.
"For those of you who don't know, Chet arrived home at this park yesterday. (Friday, Aug. 21)

He needs to take it a bit easy--fluid or inflammation is serious and it will take a while to resolve but he's on good medicines and he's bouncing back.

Love you all...
Allison"


We wish Chet a speedy and complete recover.

We also appreciate the news from Allison!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chet Hospitalized

Chet, Rockport 35 RV Park's resident Master Gardner was hospitalized Tuesday morning due to chest pains. Heart problems were ruled out early in the game.

Here's Allison's report from Wednesday evening:

"Chet is resting more comfortably tonight.
No blood clot--thank God.
But Pericardial effusion (and abnormal amount of
fluid around the heart)
He is on steriods, which should probably help him feel
better.
Thanks to Mackie, he is in the hospital getting the care he needs.
He was sleepy tonight; but seemed to be feeling better.
Thanks to all who wrote to say that you and or your prayer
groups are praying for Chet. This is such an encouragement to him."

Thank you, Allison, for this report.

We wish Chet a speedy recover. The park plants need his special attention!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where's Keith?

Photo of dock and sailboats in Bayfield, WisconsinIt's a busy summer; good thing I'm retired!

Clearly, it's high time I posted a note again. We spent a good part of the week at Oshkosh, related in the story below.

Then we were home a week, then Pat's sister spent a week with us while her daughter was at Camp Courageous in nearby Monticello, IA. She always loves that week!

This week is the week for which Pat has been waiting nearly one year: she's taking a watercolor workshop from an artist whose ideas and techniques she's long admired.

Last Saturday, we hooked up the trailer and headed north. Four hundred twenty two miles north, to be exact. We're in Washburn, Wisconsin, just a very few miles from as far north as you can be in Wisconsin.

The weather here is delightful: low humidity and around 70*, with beautiful blue skies.

You can see the blue skies in the picture above, taken in Bayfield. Have you heard The Big Top Chautauqua on NPR? It's at Bayfield. I might even attend a performance there tomorrow night.

Pat's class lasts through Friday. On Saturday, we'll head home to the usual grind.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

It Was Quite A Week At Oshkosh

This week was the week aviation enthusiasts look forward to: "Oshkosh." More specifically and correctly, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009. It's the annual convention of the Experimental Aircraft Association and, it turns out, the world's largest aviation event.

How large? Here are some off-the-top-of-my-head numbers:
  • Attendance: 750,000
  • Airplanes: 12,000
  • Campground area: more than 100 acres
  • Camping rigs: thousands
  • Campground population: ??? (Maybe 10,000?)
Some of the folks attending, you've no doubt heard of: Harrison Ford, Sir Richard Branson, Randy Babbit the FAA Administrator, Dick (flew the Voyager around the world non-stop, non-refueled) and brother Burt (designed and built the Voyager) Rutan.

Other notables attending were Pat Williams and Tom Carl. And, yes, I was there too! Out of the last 38 years, there are probably only five which I've missed. (Dianne remained home to man the fires there.)

Tom is Vice Chairman of Safety for the Convention so has a pickup with a flashing yellow light and a sticker on the windshield which permits him full reign of the airport. Pat and I enjoyed an extensive tour of the site with Tom, which we really appreciated. The picture below show us as we completed the tour.

Photo of Keith, Pat, and Tom at Oshkosh
Personal high points of the week were viewing the arrival and flight demonstration of White Knight Two, also known as Virgin Mother Ship Eve, after Sir Richard's mother. This White Night will carry Space Ship Two above 50,000 feet where it will be detached from the mother ship, light its rocket engine, and soar into space with six or eight paying passengers.

After a few minutes of enjoying the great view from well above 100,000 feet, it will glide back to earth for a normal landing.

Photo of White Knight Two
White Knight Two is designed to make up to four such launches in a day. It is also capable of facilitating the launch of satellites at much, much, less cost than the system currently used.

The project is funded by Sir Richard Branson, of Virgin Airlines and Virgin Records fame. (Well, they're famous in the UK.) He is truly a forward thinker.

The Airbus A-380 was also there. It's the worlds largest airliner and is normally configured to carry about 550 passenger. Seventeen are now in service.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Note From Gene Lackore

Winter Texans no doubt remember Gene and Donna Lackore, regular visitors for years—until the past year. Then, the march of Donna's Alzheimer disease prevented them from making the trip. And we missed them!

Here's a note I received from Gene a few days ago:

Hi,

Just wanted to let you know I have to eat my words about Donna. She is now a resident at Good Samaritian Home in Forest City as of Wed. this week.

The girls were pushing hard for my health, I didn't realize what it was doing to me, but already can see they were right.

I haven't been to see her yet but the girls go every day and she's good maybe better than I. It was so hard to let go, makes me feel like I've let her down. I've waited on purpose because she has been so tied to me, that I thought it would let her adjust better. As far as I know she hasn't been upset looking for me and that's what I'd hoped for.

This is a Alzheimer unit on the nursing home with 12 patients. It is only 2 or 3 years old since they built this wing on. It so nice and the staff are just great. We know several who work there and this is where I go to a support group every month. My father was in this nursing home as well as Donna's mother also several other aunts and uncles.

Gene

Good Advice

Here's a poem written by my aunt. I'd not seen it before but found it quite appropriate. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Keith

* * * * * * * ** * * ** *

I'm Fine

There’s nothing whatever the matter with me;

I’m just as healthy as I can be.

I have arthritis in both my knees

But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.

I think my liver is out of whack;

I have a terrible pain in my back.

My hearing is poor and my eyes are dim,

Most everything seems out of trim.

The way I stagger sure is a crime;

I’m likely to fall most of the time,

But all things considered, I’m feeling fine.


Arch supports for both my feet

Or I wouldn’t be able to walk down the street.

My fingers are ugly, stiff in the joints;

My nails are impossible to keep in points.

Complexion is bad, due to dry skin,

But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.


Dentures drive me crazy, I’m restless at night

And in the morning I am a sight.

Memories failing, head’s in a spin,

I’m practically living on aspirin,

But I’m awfully well for the shape I’m in.

Now—the moral is, as the tale we unfold,

That you and me, who are growing old,

It’s better to say, “I’m fine”, with a grin,

Than to tell everyone the shape we are in.


By, Gertrude Austin Detloff



Monday, July 20, 2009

Forty Years Ago Tonight

Forty years ago tonight, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. We all watched it and heard it.

We heard it because Collins Radio Company of Cedar Rapids (the company for which I worked 21 years) designed and built the communications radios used on the Apollo mission.

One of the main program managers was in my division. I know Jim and Helen well, as they also go to the same church I do. That big event was 9 years before I joined the company, but according to Jim those were pretty exciting days at what I call "the radio factory."

I've been told that the Collins communications systems were the only systems on the spaceship which were not redundant. How's that for confidence!

Today the company is known as Rockwell Collins, Inc. They continue to build high-quality electronic equipment for airplanes and the military. Just about every business jet in the free world uses "our" radios, as do many airlines. The new Boeing 787 will have lots and lots of "Collins" equipment on board.

It was interesting to work for the acknowledged world leader in electronics for aviation! It took me to far-away lands and enabled me to meet many interesting people.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Note from Melanie and Fred----

Here are a couple of notes from Melanie and Fred, winter residents of 5th Street.
Dear Allison and Tony,

Thank you so much for your last email and we were very surprised to hear about the fire so close to the park! I am sure it must of been quite nerve racking for the people still in the park but thankfully it was contained before it could reach RV35.

We arrived home yesterday afternoon after our very enjoyable trip out west. As planned we stayed first with Sherry and Gary in Duluth then with Laverne* and Gene in Bismark. We were surprised at both cities, both small but very nice. Sherry and Gary live about thirty miles of Duluth on a lake that makes our lake look like a mud puddle, ha! Sherry and I went out in their canoe for a couple of hours and that was great fun.

We then went on to stay with Laverne and Gene and they took us to many wonderful places of interest that neither of us had any idea of, we just hope that we can do the same for them in the not too distant future.

From there we moved on and stayed in Custer, SD, for a few nights seeing all that was on our list and more. The Black Hills are absolutely breathtaking, something neither of us will ever forget.

We moved on to Sheridan and again saw all that was on our list, so many wonderful places, too numerous to mention. Of course I took lots of pics and now will have to take the time sort them.

I hope you don't mind but I do have a favor to ask of you. Would you please save us the cd of 'You've Got The Time' that you so kindly were offering to people. I mentioned it to a friend in England (via email) and she said she would love to have one as she has never heard of it and we plan to take her the one we bought back with. We have so enjoyed listening and reading our bibles but we have some catching up to do due to being away but I know we shall have completed it before we go to England in six weeks time. Thank you so much.

I had better cut this short now as I am doing the laundry, yet my mind is still very much on holiday recalling all the wonderful memories of places we saw.

Take care and God Bless you both always,

Love,
Melody and Fred XX
* * * * * * * * * *

Dear Allison and Tony,

Thank you very much for your last email and also a big thank you for saving the cd (MP3) for us that I asked you for. I know my friend in England will enjoy listening to the one we shall take her in a few weeks time.

I know you have been to England so when I tell you that she and her husband attend a very old church that sits facing 'the village green' you will be able to imagine it. The sad side is that the village no longer is out in the country so to speak, it is now on the edge of my home town and considered a suburb, even so the church and immediate area still resembles the village scene of years ago.

Of course I do not mind if you wish my last email to be included in the blog, but please double check it for spelling and grammar, ha!

I have to keep this short as we need to go into town and do a few errands but I wanted you thank you for the cd.

Take care and God Bless you both,

Love,
Melody and Fred
June 13, 2009

Notes from the editor:
  • * That would be the Sheriff of 5th Street!

  • Yesterday, Pat and whizzed right through Duluth, MN, and up the North Shore to Silver Bay to visit little Miss Molly. Today, we ventured up to Grand Marais for lunch.

  • Three summers ago, we volunteered at a fish hatchery north of Bismark. We enjoyed the area.

  • Our very favorite vacation area is the Black Hills of South Dakota. In fact, Custer is the place we prefer to stay.
I'm glad that Fred and Melanie got to experience and enjoy some of our favorite places!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

TEA Party at Rockport 35 RV Park


July 4th was the day for hundreds (thousands?) of TEA (Taxed Enough Already) parties across our nation. There was one right here at our park!

This was the program for the gathering:
  • Welcome
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • America the Beautiful
  • Remarks
  • Prayer for the Nation
  • Parade of Signs



    Allison, chief TEA server, gave prepared remarks, excerpts are below:
  • We are witnessing God removing His favor from our nation as we move Him out of public life.

  • I am not a politician, not a Republican, not a Democrat—I am an American! And I care what is happening to this country.

  • Known as Cap and Trade, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 has been deceitfully passed off to citizens as promoting environmental responsibility. It has, in fact, been called, "The biggest tax in American history."

  • Mark Twain said, "If you don't keep up with the news you are uninformed—if you do, you're misinformed." Sadly, that is often true . .

  • . . . call and write your representatives and tell them not to pass harmful legislation . . .

  • Enocurage one another and collectively contact your representatives

  • . . . pray for your leaders. God commands us to do so.
Allison also said there is on-going action:

Participants will meet at the library the 2nd Monday of each month for a 912 Meetup. A place to learn about issues and candidates and begin to work together to take back this nation.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I Am An AMERICAN

Photo of flag of the United States of AmericaA bit of background on this article:
Bob Swanson, full-time RVer who winters at Rockport 35 RV Park with his swife Kathy, sent the "I am an American" note below. He suggested that others email their stories.

Allison picked up the challenge and added a bit of her American history, along with Tony's.

These are great American Fourth of July stories. I thank them for writing them and trust they do not mind them being published for all the world to read.

And you, of course, can do the same!

From Bob Swanson:


My father's parents immigrated from Sweden, learned English and became Americans.

My father was born in America and died here, he was an American.

My mother's parents trace their heritage back many generations from many different countries, they were all Americans either by birth or by legal immigration.

I am NOT a Swedish-American, I am an American; I am not a many different countries-American,I am an American.

So apparently those who chose to call themselves African-American, Asian-American, etc. etc are NOT 100% Americans.

As a 100% American, I know America was founded on Judea-Christian laws and principals. I am proud and happyto see God's name on MY public buildings, the money I use, and the use God's name in public affairs, ceremonies and all things American. I am happy to place America as "one nation under God" when I pledge allegiance to my flag and I believe memorials containing references to God, whether they be state or federal, are right and no one, including the Supreme Court, has the right to remove or in any way change those references such as crosses, the Ten Commandments, or any other reference to God. I believe prayers should be said by those who wish to do so at all public functions including schools and especially government functions.

I am an American.

Robert A. Swanson

I hope you forward this to others: Add your own statement of heritage, if you wish. I would like to read yours.



From Allison

I am proud to be an American.

My father was actually German and Irish but he loved to laugh with a twinkle in his eye and recite, "I'm Welsh, Irish, Dutch, German, French..........and on and on. He was very proud to be part of this melting pot called The United States of America.

My mother was English and Indian--sometime I heard French and Indian. She was an orphan so searched for her roots. Her mother had heritage in the Blackfoot tribe in Montana.

Tony's grandparents came through Ellis Island. They were so proud to be American. Tony says his father would never have called himself an Italian-American nor participated in any organization that focused on ethnic differences--Tony never would either--He is American! period.

I am saddened by the lack of knowledge Americans have of their heritage and the heroics that God used to make this nation great. God says, in Scripture: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6) I'm afraid that is a valid description of the United States for history forgotten is bound to be repeated.

Saturday (July 4) we will host a TEA Party. We carry signs, will proudly salute the flag, sing patriotic songs and pray for our nation in Jesus' Name.

Allison
Every Day...Every Minute...
Every breath is a Gift from God!



From Keith Williams

I, too, am an American!

Heritage-wise, I am a pure "half-breed"—exactly 50% Welsh and 50% Norwegian.

My Williams great-grandparents came from northern Wales. One set from the island of Angelsy and the other form near Mount Snowdon. I have had the good fortune to visit both areas.

My Austin (changed from the traditional Austinson, or in my case, Oleson) great-grandparents came from Norway. And I have spent one night in Oslo, where I attended a concert in a great concert hall. I don't know much about them but believe they came directly from Norway to southern Minnesota.

One of my great-grandfathers never learned English, I am told. At the time, Lime Springs was a "Welsh ghetto" so he probably felt little need to learn a new language. And my father didn't speak English until his older sister started going to school. But having switched to English at the age of three or four, he forgot most of his Welsh and could not converse in it.

But I have to believe these folks worked hard to be Americans and never looked back. I've heard not a word about even one of my great-grandparents or even grandparents returning to "the old country" even for a visit.

America has always welcomed those who, well, want to be AMERICANS. It appears that a good number of recent arrivees have little interest in becoming Americans. It's not clear to me why they bothered to come.

Do you suppose it is because of the opportunities that we offer?

Or the liberties that we enjoy? (Yes, there are some left.)

Or the "free money" through subsidies, health care, education, etc., that we seem all to willing to provide?

Probably some of each.

But I'm concerned. I grew up in the America of Ike and Goldwater and Kennedy and Regan. That's the America which I thought I was part of, and would like to be again. Clearly, those of us who long for that type of America again must become more vocal in exercising our freedom to speak out.

Keith



From Julee Crever

Several years ago we were staying with friends at their cabin in Wisc.[a very common activity here in the midwest]. The 6 of us decided to go to the local Indian casino for dinner and some entertainment. I had on a purple knit top with colorful beading in a large v across the front,with jeans.

Out of the clear blue sky, this gentleman there who was Indian said, "Why you dressed like native American?"

It totally caught me so off guard, I was speechless [unheard of for me]. I stammered a bit and out popped, "Because I am!"

I still get upset and offended when I think of that episode.....excuse me, I am just as American as you are and take unending pride in that fact.

My grandfather came from Norway when he was 17, knowing he would never see his family over there again. He told me he came here because this was the "land of Milk & Honey", what courage.

On the other side of my family my grandmother left her family at age 17 to sail here for a chance at a better life. In Scandinavia, the family farm just kept getting diced up as each new family member reached adulthood & they were truly literally running out of land for everyone. This grandma worked until age 76 running the laundry at a large Baptist hospital here in St.Paul. They were eager to learn English as they felt embarrassed using their own native tongue in public.

Our oldest granddaughter just turned 17 in June and I cannot even imagine her sailing off somewhere [getting on a space ship for Mars] never to be seen again. Brave people.

Have a wonderful weekend celebrating our countrys' birthday.

Julee




Who's next? Email your "I am an American" story to: kaw@syntheticsaves.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hot Dogs on the Fourth!

On the Fourth, join other park residents and Allison and Tony and enjoy that famous American meal: Hot Dogs!

Tony will cook up a batch of hot dogs, there'll be all the trimmin's plus some chips and a drink—all for a buck-and-a-half.

It sounds like a great way to celebrate independence, and, for one meal, independence from cooking! Come and meet some of your neighbors at the park the Rockport 35 RV Park way: by having a meal with them!

It just doesn't get much better than that!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New and Improved Wi-Fi at Rockport 35 RV Park

Allison reported that there is a new Tengo Wi-Fi system installed and operating at the park. It's still being tweaked, but shows great promise.

There are seven access points scattered strategically around the park so that more consistent coverage over all areas of the park is available.

Computers and Wi-Fi are becoming more and more a part of the life of Americans. Upgrading the system is one more way Tony and Allison are making the park more attractive for their visitors.

At 09:30 on the 4th be at Rockport 35 RV Park

.........for the second Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party!

Sick and tired of taxes going up and up and up? You're not alone!

Celebrate July 4th, INDEPENDENCE DAY, by joining like-minded folks and making your wishes known. What better day to express
your thoughts regarding our government? The TEA Party will last about an hour.

Remember, this is a celebration of our independence, so feel free to dress "patriotically" if you wish. Also, it is a protest of sorts, so feel free to bring appropriately-worded signs to carry and wave! Who knows, you might even make the evening news on TV.

And you might not, but so what? You've participated!

This event is for park guests, neighbors, casual passers-by, and anyone who would like to express their feelings on this important issue.

And if you're not in the Rockport area, go here to find out where you can attend a TEA Party near you: http://www.teapartyday.com Click on "Locations" then find your state, city, location, and time.

Then there's just one more thing to do: Attend!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Knee High?

Photo of Pat Williams in corn field.
Here in Iowa, we always used to say that the corn should be knee-high by July Fourth. Sometimes the question became, "Is that with the leaves pulled up, or not?"

This year Pat shows that such a question does not arise. So far, it looks like a great year for the corn farmers. But 'tain't over till it's over! There's a long way to go yet.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

35 Years and Counting


Thirty-five years ago Sunday (21st), a long-awaited event took place in Waseca, MN. Pat and I were married that day! And we still are!

We both worked for the same company (E.F. Johnson Co., maker of Messenger CB radios) and it was Pat's hometown so we knew lots of people and had lots of friends who attended our wedding. And that's not to mention relatives!

After the ceremony, we gathered at the most popular restaurant in town for a buffet dinner and a great time of socializing.

I can not remember another wedding reception where everyone had such a great time, including the bride and groom.

We spent a night or two in Minneapolis, then headed out on our company-paid honeymoon. How many have done that? I was already living in Miami and the company was moving another employee to Miami from Waseca. The timing was perfect: if we would "deliver" his car to him from Waseca, the company would pay expenses as that was much less expensive than shipping it.

And less expensive for us, too—to say the least.

Tomorrow we will begin our second 35 years of wedded bliss.

Friday, June 19, 2009

ABC's Person of the Week - - -

--- was from Cedar Rapids, Iowa!

Kurt Warner, pro football quarterback for the Arizona team, was recognized by ABC evening news as their Person of the Week today.

Kurt is from Cedar Rapids and has a great story of overcoming down times and generally making lemonade out of lemons. But that's not why he made the news today.

He and bunches of others are in town this week to build 20 new houses (yes, that's what they say, 20!) for Habitat for Humanity. A worthy goal and certainly a worthy cause, especially here in Cedar Rapids one year after the devastating flood which rendered about a thousand homes unrepairable.

The Kurt Warner Foundation has contributed about $700,000.00 to flood relief in the Cedar Rapids area.

Cedar Rapids and Iowa in general are not known for producing athletic heroes. But those we do have represent us well. Zack Johnson, golfer, is also from Cedar Rapids. And little Shawn Johnson, Olympic gymnast and Dancing With The Stars champion, from the Des Moines area.

Now if we could only claim Danica Patrick! She's from neighboring Illinois; close enough. And Sunday she'll be racing at Iowa Speedway. Do you suppose she'll get her second Indy Car win and first one in the States right here in Iowa? (Her other win was in Japan.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Note From Karen

That would be the Karen of "Wyoming Bob," if that's the way you keep track of all our friends at Rockport 35 RV Park.

She wrote a note with some news, so instead of publishing it as a comment to "Does Anyone Visit This Site?" it will become its own article.

" Hello Keith and Pat,

We visit the site too and want to say thanks for doing this for all of us. Bob says "hello".

We made it back to Sheridan April 1st and were in time for a few snow storms. Great weather is slow in coming!! We had frost the day before and raining now. Ugh!

Good to hear that Lucille is moving around better, that's always good news, and Pat's knee too.

We made another trip to Tulsa for our grandson, Seth's, graduation in May. Was fun to celebrate with him. I finished the quilt! Even had time to spare. Whew! Starting the next one.

Bob's been out fishing with his dad and we have had several meals of walleye and crappies. Grandkids are looking forward to fishing with him too.

Keep up the great work.
Karen"

It's always good to hear news from those with whom we enjoy the winter. Thanks, Karen!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bumper Sticker

Trucks are Fords.
Tractors are green.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How's Your Day Going?

Photo of John Deere tractor stuck in a muddy field.
No comment necessary.

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Note from the Carlsons

The following was provided as a Comment to the Does-Anyone-Visit-This-Site? article I posted last night. Because it is so newsy and includes information many 35 RV friends are interested in, I'm publishing it as an article, rather than as a comment.

Hi Keith,
We do read and appreciate any information/stories you share on this site. You're right -- any news from our fellow snow birds is always fun to read. So, here is a little bit to share. Spring is coming slowly to Bay City, MI this year. Just had another little frost about 10 days ago. Finally were able to put the last of the garden in (our 1st year) and it's great to see our (Rick's) efforts popping through the ground.

Rick is back to his 3-day-a-week grass cutting job at the golf course, and lovin' it. I was babysitting our 2 little g-sons 2 days a week, but my son is laid off from GM for the next 6 weeks so I've got more time to do other important things...like clean out the closets.

Our boys, Bandit and Buddy, are doing fine, except Bandit is being treated for an ear infection and the meds he is on make him thirsty so he drinks a LOT of water. This has caused "accidents" during the night. Fortunately it's on the kitchen floor -- easy to clean up.

Rick's mom and dad are both well and we have dinner with them once a week. Lucille's legs continues to get stronger and she is able to walk greater distances without tiring so quickly.

Glad to hear Pat's surgery went well and that she is on the mend. Our best to you and Pat and all the RV35's.

Rick and Dianne Carlson
Thanks, Dianne, for the update. It's a great example for others to follow!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Does Anyone Visit This Site?

"Yes," is the answer.

On a typical day, about 15 people find their way to this site. I wish it were more, of course, but 15 is better than 14—and a whole lot better than none at all!

About 63% come to this site from the official Rockport 35 RV Park site, 35rv.com. (Thanks for the link, Allison!) They may be checking out parks, looking for a good place to stay for a day or a week or a month or a year. The internet is a great place to research the market for anything!

Another 16% come directly to this site. My guess is that those are folks who have already stayed at the park and look to this site to see what is going on at the park or with their friends from the park.

And that, of course, is exactly why this site was created and what it tries to do.

Except there is a bit of a problem: the creator of the site is 1,200 miles from the park so must rely on info from others regarding current events at Rockport 35 RV Park. Allison passes on info, and just last week David sent the note about the fire close to the park and the pictures of the fire trucks.

It's inputs like that which make this site work as intended.

About 14% of the traffic comes from search engines—someone just looking for an RV park in Rockport, for example.

And I guess the rest of the visitors just wander in.

Wherever they come from, they are welcome and I'm glad they have visited the site.

And all readers are invited to contribute articles or information for possible publication. Send something in; I bet your friends from the park would be thrilled to hear how your summer is going.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pat's New Knee - - -

- - - is coming along fine.

And we are both very thankful, of course.

There are no medical problems and healing is progressing on a normal course.

Pat is scheduled for therapy each MWF for the next four weeks. By then, it should be better than new, I would think. The therapy certainly isn't fun.

I remind her that walking on the "old" knee wasn't fun, either!

I am confident that I'll survive my new role as nurse, driver, cook, and housekeeper.

Excitement at Rockport 35 RV Park


Last Monday, there was another fire in the Rockport area. This one was a bit closer to the park.

Here's the report from David:
"Here are a few pics of the local fire departments here at the park a few days ago. There was a brush fire just on the opposite side of the pipeline. Fortunately it did not break through."


That's good news for the park and for all of us!


Thank You, David, for the report and the pictures.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Johnson & Johnson

Shawn Johnson and Zach Johnson (no relation) have represented Iowa well this week.

Shawn is the perky little 17-year-old from West Des Moines who won an Olympic gold medal in Beijing in gymnastics. This week, she won the Dancing With the Stars event! She's the youngest to ever win.

Zack won the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio last Sunday. The payoff for that one was about $1.3M. Total winnings as a pro: about $15M. Not bad for a young guy, is it!

We're pretty proud of Zack, as Cedar Rapids is his hometown. In fact, his parents go to the same church as Pat does.

As a point of interest, Kurt Warner, quarterback, is also a Cedar Rapidian. Locally, both are considered to be "good guys" and have made significant contributions to local organizations.

Johnson & Johnson: great folks representing Iowa and Iowa values well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today's the Day

Pat gets a new left knee today.

We knew there was something unusual going on as we got up at 4:00. Now that is unusual!

She's first on the list, scheduled for 7:30. That means, at least to me, that by noon today the surgery will be over and "it'll all be downhill from then."

I'll update this as time goes on and the wi-fi here at the hospital and I remain compatible.

10:30 Update

Surgery went well. The OR staff appreciated the fact that she and her leg were small; it made their job much easier.

She's in recovery now; I'll see her in a few minutes.

We are thankful that this phase is over!!

12:55 Update

Recovery is going well. She's awake and coherent and in a nice room. Her doctor was in and told her how well things went.

Unless something exciting happens, which I hope isn't the case, I might not report again until tonight or tomorrow.

2:45 Update

To me, this is exciting! Pat walked, with the aid of a walker, about 40 feet. It amazes me that only about six hours ago the surgeon sawed her leg off, took out the old knee, put a new one in, sewed her leg up—and now she has proven that it all worked.

Science and the medical profession—with help from some engineers along the line, no doubt—can do wonderful things these days.


Wednesday 6 PM Update

The leg-related things are going well for Pat. She can walk pretty good, once she gets standing up. The challenge is getting out of bed!

She's been in pain and nauseated today. I think they've finally found some pain killer which will also be kind to her stomach. She feels much better now and ordered a big supper.


Thursday 4:30 PM Update

We're just sitting here treading water, waiting for the doctor to come to release Pat to go home. She passed all her therapy tests with flying colors.

Today, both her leg and her stomach have been OK, so she's feeling much, much, better than she did yesterday.

Unless something unusual happens, this will be the end of the saga of Pat's new knee.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fishing in Rockport

Do you ever look at those articles briefs over in the right margin of this page? They're the beginnings of newspaper articles which are about Rockport, or Rockport people, or at least mention Rockport.

Today I noticed one with the title "Cutbait or Fish." If it's still there, read the paragraph and if it sounds interesting to you, click on it; that'll take you to the complete article.

If it's no longer there (these articles come and go automatically), just click on this link and it'll take you to the article: http://www.masoncountynews.com/news/article/15838.

This article will sound very familiar to anyone who has spent any time in Rockport. And it will really sound familiar to those who have fished there with less than spectacular results!

Check out those articles in the right margin once in awhile. Sometimes, there's something you'll find interesting hidden there!

A Visit to Madison County

Photo of a covered bridge in Winterset, Madison County, Iowa.
Wednesday I drove to Winterset, county seat of Iowa's Madison County. You may have heard of it—did you see the 1995 movie The Bridges of Madison County with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep?

Yes, it was that Madison County, best known for its numerous covered bridges. It's also the birthplace of actor John Wayne, whose first home and birthplace is pictured here.

Photo of John Wayne's birthplace, Winterset, Iowa.
But I didn't leave at 5:05 AM and drive 173 miles to see those historical sights. I went to attend one day of a four-day Computer Rally sponsored by the Iowa Chapter of Escapees.

Pat and I had planned to attend, with our trailer. But as the day for her new knee approached, she felt there were too many things yet needing to be done, plus a medical issue or two, so we decided not to make a week of it.

The organizers had invited me to be a presenter, but having never attended one and our ability to attend being a bit uncertain, I had declined. But I thought there would be some benefits to my going for even one day:
  • I'd see how others conduct a formal computer class, hoping that this might be useful as future classes at Rockport 35 RV Park are considered.

  • It would help me decide whether I wanted to attend or possibly present a sesson at next year's rally.

  • I'd learn something!
There were eleven couples who participated, plus the director-couple. A good number of them were full-timers. As usual in RVing circles, it was an interesting group of fellow RVers with varied and interesting backgrounds and interests.

The sessions were well organized and well taught. I contributed a bit to the session on Picasa—stuff I learned while preparing for and teaching a class on the same subject at 35 RV and while using it afterward.

Yes, I still use Picasa. It has a lot going for it! It meets my needs for most of my photo editing needs. For real heavy lifting, I have GIMP, which will do anything one wants to do with photos, as far as I know. But it is not easy to learn! (That's the usual tradeoff: capability vs. ease of use.)

Did I learn anything? Yes! The first hour was about browsers. Even though I am familiar with IE and use Firefox everyday, about 75% of what the instructor said, I had never heard before.

With computers, there's always something to learn!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Logical Sign

A friend sent this picture to me. Wish I'd thought of it!

Photo of gun-control-related yard sign.

Another 35RVer Home Safely

I'm a bit behind on this, as I received it April 30. This is from Ron & Nancy Philstrom, who lived on 4th Street near the laundry.

WE FINALLY MADE IT BACK TO MICHIGAN THIS MORNING. WE LEFT TEXAS THE MONDAY AFTER EASTER. SPENT 3 DAYS WITH FRIENDS AT TOLEDO BEND LAKE IN NORTHERN TEXAS. HAD A GOOD TIME.

GOT TO MINNESOTA THE 20TH. VISITED WITH OUR SON AND NANCY'S RELATION. BROTHER ROGER
HERBST WAS IN THE HOSPITAL. PNEUMONIA, DEHYDRATION LOW BLOOD PRESSURE. HE HAD LOST 80 LBS. SO WAS SKIN & BONES. HIS HEART IS OK. HE HAD A DEFIB. PUT IN LAST YEAR. PLEASE KEEP HIM IN YOUR PRAYERS AS HE STILL NEEDS A LOT OF RECOVERY.

THEN WHEN WE WERE GOING TO LEAVE FOR HOME MON, WE FOUND OUT SUN NIGHT THAT
MY OLDER BROTHER RALPH HERBST WIFE DIED OF AN ANEURISM SO WE SPENT MONDAY WITH HIM. IT WAS A SHOCK. SHE WAS IN HER 60S BUT HEALTH PROBLEMS. PLEASE PRAY FOR HIM ALSO AND THEIR 4 KIDS AND MANY GRANDKIDS.

ITS GOOD TO BE HOME EVEN THOUGH I HAVE A LOT OF CLEANING TO DO AND I TWISTED MY ANKLE SO CAN'T GET AROUND TOO GOOD. GUESS THE WORK WILL WAIT FOR ME. HOPE ALL OF YOU ARE WELL AND KEEP IN TOUCH.

GOD BLESS.

Prayer in the Park

Don't we have great communications capability these days?

Allison and Tony are traveling, but she sent the following:
There were 13 who met at the flagpole on our park, today--plus two more:Tony and me who joined in in spirit --to pray for this nation,

If you missed the National Day of prayer, never fear, it's never too late to begin to earnestly pray on her behalf--AND on behalf of ALL God's children.

Love to you all,
Allison

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On The Road With Tony and Allison

I received this yesterday from Allison:

We are spending the night in TexArkana--Probably arrive Wednesday in Tennessee. Trip has been uneventful.

After we arrived, we let Malakai and Sapphria RUN!!! Then an outside bath was necessary because the ground was quite wet!

After we were safely inside and set for the night--it poured rain!!!
It's been so long since we've seen rain--it was quite an event!

It's cold here, too! I had to wear my heavy sweater.

Love you all...
Allison

Every Day...Every Minute...Every breath is a Gift from God!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A May Basket For You


April showers did bring May flowers, so I'm sharing a few with you.

Another sure sign of Spring: the wrens have returned! I love to hear them sing their pretty song.

And they seem to sing all day long! It's nice that they can be so cheerful and cheer us up with their beautiful melodies.

Chet

This note arrived early this morning from Allison:

"Chet Sutherland (who most of you know as Rockport 35's Master Gardner) had a pacemaker inserted Wednesday.

On the way home from the hospital yesterday, he suffered a mild stroke and is back at Christus Spohn Shoreline Room 608.

Please remember Chet in your prayers for salvation and healing.

Thank you,
Allison
Every Day...Every Minute...
Every breath is a Gift from God!"

Thanks for the info, Allison. Chet is an important part of our Winter experience so are sorry to hear that he's not able to be out tending the plants and flowers.

Pat and I wish him a speedy recovery.