It seems that I am being offered the opportunity to catch up on the blog. So our last blog post found us at Engineer Beach RV Park at Fort Rucker in October. Since then……
We traveled to Mayport, back to our favorite Osprey Cove at Naval Station Mayport (Jacksonville, FL). We knew when we arrived that it was going to be a shorter visit than normal. We had some pretty exciting plans brewing…. We enjoyed seeing our Mayport Family – the very best part of going there! The atmosphere seemed different this time, and I think many of us picked up on it. There were some changes in management and a few other changes, it just wasn’t quite the same. The people, though, our dear friends – they were the same. What a joy to catch up with them; share campfires, food, stories, and time. I enjoyed knitting with Jay, and learned a new craft – needle felting – thanks to Pat. We carved out time at least once a week to sit and chat and craft. I really miss them! Jay lives in New York, and Pat is from Pennsylvania. My cooking buddy, Bob, lives in Massachusetts. I learn so much from him – he is an awesome cook – Italian and Mediterranean. Hopefully our travels will bring us to cross paths again soon. Bill met for coffee with the guys, and during their coffee sessions, they solved the world’s problems (many times over), as well as the issues more local. In November, Bill and I finished the Space Coast Half Marathon. It was Bill’s first half marathon, and for me – it meant finished the fourth in a series.
Mid-December found us pulling in the slides and heading back to Fort Rucker. We were putting our plan into action! As soon as Walter’s holiday block leave started, he and Bill flew back to Michigan for a quick visit with Mom. They warmed up 23 Unicorn, loaded her for travel, and charted a course for College Station, Texas. They were able to make the trip, spend a quick minute with Beth and Seth, and fly back to be “home” for Christmas. Our Christmas celebration was fun – with Walter, Mara, Piper, Bill and me. Walt let me move into his kitchen and cook to my heart’s content!
Mid-January and we were making the wheels on the rig go round and round…headed to College Station! After a couple of days on the road, we pulled in to the Holiday RV Park – located in close proximity to Texas A&M. We are in Aggieland! We celebrated second Christmas with Beth, Seth, and Ryan, Calypso, and Nyx. These last 3 months have been a treasure.
Beth and Seth have worked their tails off – working their jobs full-time and engaging in flight training. Beth works her full-time job, plus a couple other jobs. Her job often requires travel – being away from home for a week at a time, with only the weekend at home before traveling again. I know I never had the energy to accomplish what she does, and I am in awe of all that she does! Seth is a lighter-than-air balloon pilot. Shortly after we arrived, we were delighted to be part of his chase crew for a dawn departure. Retrieval might have involved climbing fences into cow pastures and avoiding the steaming piles! Seriously – what a thrilling process to be involved in – from unpacking and inflating the envelope to packing it up.
Bill and I snuck away to Galveston Island for a couple days in February to celebrate our anniversary. Piper enjoyed being on the beach again. I found a shark’s tooth on the beach, and we truly enjoyed celebrating life. After we returned, I flew home to Michigan to visit with Mom and Rob for a week. Small dose of Michigan winter to remind me of my roots! What an awesome visit – looking forward to being back this spring.
Weather was definitely a challenge for the aviation part of our plan. We have had wind – lot’s and lot’s of wind, we had snow, ice, and rain. We have had thunderstorms, tornado warnings, and wind. Did I mention wind? Unbelievable!
Beth and I have had some pretty awesome adventures – most of them involving plants and dirt. When your knees look like this, you know it’s been a good day!
She has introduced me to succulent gardening and propagation (and a fabulous succulent greenhouse). We have started seedlings together, transplanted, started her new garden (they have two growing seasons here – how cool is that?), and played extensively in her greenhouse. She has been gracious enough to let me choose plants for her lovely yard. (Since I don’t have a yard of my own to plant in!). Beth took me to a plant swap – what a great experience! College Station is a college town – for Texas A&M. Lots of students here. A great deal of interest in growing things. Earlier this month, we repotted our extras (plants that had divided, rooted, etc) and headed off to the plant swap. Imagine – a whole bunch of people that get just as excited as we do over green growing things! It’s like trading marbles, or baseball cards. Only you do it with plants and pots. And you lose your sense of reason and convince yourself that you always have room for just one more plant – and, sure, you can grow that!
We celebrated Bill’s 75th birthday. The kids took us to a Living History weekend at the Museum of the American GI. Old tanks were working, mock battles were conducted, and Seth filled us in on a lot of history.
Seth has shared quite a bit of history of the area, as well as Texas. We have enjoyed learning and discovering. Learning about Seth’s work is fascinating, and he will be traveling as well.
More recently, the bluebonnets have been blooming, along with a myriad of other wildflowers. Beth took me to a field of bluebonnets so we could fulfill the requisite bluebonnet picture.
We celebrated Easter together as Beth prepared to “hit the road” for a busy season of travel. She was chosen to present at a national conference for work – and we are very proud of her! Last week we celebrated Ryan’s third birthday. He is a charmer and a blessing to us!
A particular joy and blessing that I have had and will treasure is meeting some new knitting friends here in College Station. We were able to start a morning knitting group, and they are the best! I will miss Kaye, Phyllis & Kinsley, and Cindy – but will definitely be looking for them when we return for visits.
Another joy that we have to add is meeting Dan. He is a friend of Beth and Seth, and comes to visit them. Sometimes he stays for a while. We have enjoyed getting to know Dan – and personally have enjoyed his prowess with sourdough. Dan is another fount of information – so interesting to talk with him. We are blessed to have him as our friend, and he tolerates me being a surrogate mom at times. Whenever y’all have a moment – keep Dan in your prayers for us? Thanks in advance – I know you are awesome prayer warriors!
As I reread this post, I love seeing that it is primarily about joy and celebration. We have been able to carve out one-on-one time with the kids, those times will be dearly treasured. It’s the time together, the memories we create – those are the things we cherish.
They say everything is bigger in Texas – and this year, Texas has outdone itself with it’s pollen counts. Several times we have heard them described as “record” levels, historic levels, etc. Everything outside is the same shade of yellow. Unfortunately, I fell victim to the pollen…we were supposed to be in Oklahoma as I write this. Instead, I have been making frequent visits to urgent care, and tomorrow will meet with an ENT doctor. I seem to have developed a rather stubborn, inconvenient, unwanted, unneeded ear infection. Most likely due to allergies from all the pollen. Anyway, I am without functional hearing, and getting crankier by the minute. Walgreen’s pharmacy and I are just about on a first name basis. Bless Bill! He is an excellent nurse! Hopefully we will get this cleared up soon and back to our travels.
This is long, and if you’re still with me – bless your patience! Hoping to have the wheels on our rig turning soon and more adventures to share. I know that I have missed many things we have done, and it’s not because they weren’t memorable. Our hearts are overflowing, and gratitude abounds!