Tag Archives: road trips


It seems like I’ve been talking and ok, whining about this trip for a long time. It has been great so far.  Ralph’s Army reunion in Nashville was wonderful.  We got to see a lot of old friends and make some new ones.  I’m dealing with a space issue on photos at the moment and when I get it worked out, I’ll show some photos from the reunion.  I had a great deal of luck getting food I could eat and all in all it was a great experience.

Our road trip to Nashville was good, although we did hit four severe thunderstorms between Cincinnati and Nashville.  The kind where you can’t see beyond the hood of the car.  Scary. I always want to pull over but Ralph always forges on.  We came through it safely though.

Our trip to New Mexico was smooth, an overnight in Oklahoma and then straight on to Silver City.  We arrived at about 10:30 pm on Monday which was wonderful.  We’re used to getting in at about 4 am so this was a treat.  Actually had the chance to pick up a few things we’d need for morning and then settle in for a good night’s sleep.

After one full day here, I’m still trying to get my brain wrapped around the fact that I’m here and I will be here for a month.  I’m pretty excited, but still catching up on things.  I got some cleaning done yesterday and more to do today.  I always have to sweep up all of the “enchantment” that filters into the house while we’re gone, not to mention all of the dead spiders! We had a little issue with the hot water heater, it didn’t want to cooperate, probably because it hadn’t been lit for a while.  We called for repair yesterday, but Ralph was told they wouldn’t get here until today.  He went out later and tried it and it worked! So I’m desperately in need of a shower as I type this.  That’s next on my agenda.

Ralph picked up a cold on the way here and was kind enough to share it with me. He seems to be coming out of it and I’m feeling better too.  I made some of the magic elixir that helped us last winter-lemon, fresh ginger and honey mixed together and allowed to sit for a while.  Then put it in tea.  I brewed a pot for us last night and it really does the trick. I feel much better this morning.

I wanted to share a photo from the drive in that is one of the things that always amazes us about New Mexico.

New Mexico Sky


These beautiful clouds and skies are unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Walmart sky


They even make Walmart look better!  Spent a good long while there yesterday afternoon and stocked us up with everything we need for a while.  People are so friendly here.  I had a nice long chat with my check out lady about produce.  She’s from California and says that the produce is the only thing she misses…it’s so much less expensive there.  I told her that the produce is probably the only thing I’ll miss about New Jersey when we finally move here.  But I’ll take more expensive produce to live here.

I’ve got beans cooking in the crock pot, so I’m feeling quite at home.  Better get the day started and oh, yes…Can’t wait for that shower!

Happy Friday!!

Week In Review~September 9

It’s time for the Week In Review and I’m freaking out.  My mind is more on the coming week than the past week, but I can adjust.  I have at least a week’s worth of things to do and I only have two days to do it in…I can do this.  If I keep telling myself this it will happen, right?!

Week in Review is hostessed by the lovely Meghan at Clean Eats, Fast Feets.  Be sure to check out the other linkers when you’re finished here!

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Where to begin…I’ll start with the most important thing.


I mentioned on Friday that Ralph had a heart catheterization on Tuesday.  I think we were both more anxious about the whole thing than we wanted to let each other know.  When he was in the recovery area and the doctor came in, reviewed the procedure with us and said that everything was Ok, we looked at each other and confessed.  We were both frightened and worried.  I kissed him on the forehead, he promptly fell asleep for an hour and a half and I sat down to read.  Everything was as it should be.  I really can’t say enough good things about his team of doctors and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, NJ.  He was there for his first procedure in 1997 and things have changed but only for the better.  Everything was great back then, but things have only improved.  They work like a well oiled machine there.  A very good experience.


Ok, so I’m behind in spite of all my lists and planning.  Well, I’m not that far behind but Ralph is.  He has a good reason but he insists on packing for himself and doesn’t like me to help.  Then of course there’s the issue of things that are lost that must be found.  Prior to every trip there’s something important that’s lost and can’t be found.  I should start a week prior and be sure that I know where these things are.  It’s always the same things.  I’m working hard to be patient.  I should be able to finish up most of what I need to do today (Sunday) and be ready to help Ralph as best I can.  We pick up the car Monday morning and then I can start packing.  I wish I could be packing a mini-van, but I’ll be packing a mid-size.  Our car is always chock full of stuff on one of these trips.  At least we never have to worry about picking up hitch-hikers!


Ralph’s semi-monthly family lunch was on Wednesday. Of course he couldn’t go so I went in his place.  It was very nice as always but everyone missed him.  Ralph’s sister Maddie just wanted to see him before we left on our trip so that she could see that he was alright.  We met Maddie, her husband George and Aunt Marie for dinner at a local diner on Saturday night.

Metro Diner with family

Maddie, Ralph, Aunt Marie and Me.

Maddie and Ralph

Maddie and Ralph.  I love this picture.  They’re so close.  It’s wonderful.


The next week is going to be crazy.  We hope to leave on Tuesday and arrive in Nashville on Wednesday. This will very likely be my last post for the rest of the week.  I don’t like doing that but, I think it only makes sense.  I will still be posting on Instagram (as fabstiles) and Twitter (as BCDCFran) I think I can actually do posts from my smarter than me phone.  I’m going to try that, but if you see something “odd” posted here, you’ll know it’s me struggling with the phone.

That’s Week In Review for me.  The next Monday we’ll be on the road again on the way to New Mexico.  I’m not excited about that at all!!!!! But again, I’ll try to post something along the way.  Stick with me, Cookies! I’ll be back to you soon!

Happy Monday!

Week In Review~May 13

I had such fun last week joining in with Meghan’s Week In Review!  Lots of great comments and I appreciate them all.  It’s always fun at Clean Eats, Fast Feets, whether it’s the Monday Madness of Week In Review or not.  I like giving myself credit for what I accomplish.  In general, I don’t think we do that enough…we always think we haven’t done anything and certainly never enough.  I think Week In Review is good for proving us wrong.

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–Up early with butterflies in my stomach, I made a phone call for necessary information.  Got the info I needed and immediately felt better.  Sorry to be cryptic, it’s just something that’s been hanging there for a while and it was my job to take the first step.  First step taken, there are more to come but I’m so happy the process is started.

–In the afternoon, the Traveling Circus went to the Chiropractor! Gail, Alice, Margo and I all go to the same chiropractor so we make our appointments together and turn it in to a road trip.  It used to include a stop for ice cream, but we’re being good so, no ice cream…

–After that, I regained custody of my car that had been at the mechanic’s for several days.  Expensive, but it was work that needed to be done.


–Road trip to the township where Ralph’s house lives to pay insurance and taxes.  Lots of green and looking for wisteria hiding among the trees.  Everywhere we turned there were trees engulfed in the wisteria.  Beautiful, although I know it damages the trees.  Also the first sight of the cocoons that Grandmom always said meant a really hot summer.  Guess we’ll see.  A yummy lunch but I’m saving that for WIAW!!


–Laundry and LOTS of work in the basement.  Sorting things to go to the yard sale and finding more treasures.  Finding the treasures is the best part of doing all of this sorting out!


–Changed the sheets on the bed.  Ok, that doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment, but it is.  At least I didn’t tell you about cleaning the bathroom last week…oh, wait…I just did.

–A bit of a wild goose chase…annoying and unfortunate, but we’ll keep working at this project.

–Lunch at the diner and more laundry when we got home.  Not much else accomplished.  Funny how when one thing doesn’t work out it sort of puts a damper on your day.  On to better things.


–Some things have to come to an end…


–Sad to say that my pair of knock around the house/ride my exercise bike shoes finally bit the dust.  The liner came out of one and I really felt like I was walking on Nothing…I had worn the soles out so badly.  They went into the trash.  Sorry to see them go.


–My visit to Weight Watchers brought me continued happiness.  I stayed the same at 13.4 pounds UNDER my goal.  I’m pretty happy about it. It was what I thought of as kind of an off week.  I don’t really want to lose any more, I’m just really excited that I’m staying right there.

–Breakfast out with the Girls after WW and then lunch with Ralph…same restaurant/same booth/same waiter!!  Very strange.  But I found a new favorite item to order.  Saving that for WIAW, too!

–Goofed off for most of the rest of the day.  That’s ok sometimes, right?!   😉


–I’m sitting here at the computer finishing up my Week In Review! I’m liking this.  Coffee at my right hand and the sun is coming out after 2 dreary rainy days.  I think this could be a day to enjoy some outside things.

–I’m going to a spiritual Gathering this afternoon with Ele, then Ralph and I will be taking her out to dinner for Mother’s Day.  I’m really looking forward to both!

I’m enjoying participating in WIR.  I have to admit though that the only way I can do it is to write it as it happens.  Start a post and save it as a draft throughout the week so that I can add to it.  I’d never remember ANYTHING otherwise!!

So that’s this weeks installment of Week In Review.  Can you handle all of the excitement?  I’m not sure I can!  😉

Happy Monday! Happy Week In Review!  Thanks, Meghan!

Week In Review

Ok, so now that I have been loosened from the shackles of the Blogging A to Z Challenge (how descriptive!!) I’ve decided to plunge into another link up that I’ve been loving for a while but never joined in. It’s Week In Review thought up by the wild and crazy Meghan at Clean Eats, Fast Feets.

In a way, it kind of figures in with what I was doing during the Challenge. I’m trying to accomplish a LOT right now and sometimes I know I don’t give myself credit for the things I do during a day or a week.  This may help me see more clearly what I do accomplish. So here goes!

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–Since I’m just starting out with this, I’m going to start back a bit.  Last week I was invited to join in with an interesting group of people.  It’s a group of photographers and we’re looking for a new way of looking at things.  Gosh there’s a lot of looking there, but it’s necessary!

–I hit a very interesting milestone for myself when it comes to Weight Watchers.  I haven’t talked much about how I’ve been doing since I got back from Florida.  Being totally immersed in the plan down there (there were 4 of us working it together) I came back to New Jersey feeling pretty strong.  Well, I was working the program so well that I started to lose weight again.  I went down week by week.  This past Saturday at weigh in I was 13 and a quarter pounds UNDER my goal.  That makes me only 3 quarters of a pound from my Original Goal from 25 years ago! At a certain point, you’re allowed to raise your goal which I did some years ago.  I never dreamed I’d be at this weight again.  I’m pretty darned excited.  I keeping myself motivated by working hard and trying to keep Gail and Alice motivated.  I think it’s working!

–Got to spend a wonderful afternoon with some old friends who we haven’t seen in a long while. They used to be clients of mine when I was a travel agent. Bob is a phenomenal photographer and Anne is an incredible water-color artist.  Ralph had Bob as a math teacher years ago at the local county college.  They live way out in the country. We had lunch and spent the day catching up on life, sharing art and friendship.  Quite a day.

–Much sorting and packing going on as promised!  I’ve been through a lot more things in the basement and am doing my best to organize what’s going out for the yard sale as I go through things.  I’m really happy with my progress in this regard.

–Saturday, Ralph and I drove to Exton, Pa to be part of an Eastern regional reunion for his Army unit.  We’ve gone every year for the last 12 years to the national version of these reunions, but we’ve only had the chance to make a few of the regional ones.  We had the best time.  Because there are fewer people attending, we had the chance to meet some people we’d never met before and to better get to know some we already knew.  It was a great short getaway.  It also gave us some good information that we need and we can make use of.  We’ll see how that all works out. Both Saturday and Sunday were great days for a drive.  The Pennsylvania countryside is just so beautiful this time of year.

So that’s about it for my review for the week.  Once I get the hang of this, I’m sure I can be more creative with it. As it is, just wanted to get my feet wet and get to hang out with the cool people sharing their Weeks in Review.  I’ll be trying to make my week much more exciting so that it will look better on here!   😉

Happy Monday!!

I Wish I Was In the Land of Biscuits~Lessons From the South

I haven’t been to what I consider the “South” in a long time.  I’ve been in Southern states…Texas, Arizona, New Mexico of course…but “The South.” I think it’s something very different.

I think this post might be a bit rambling, but my head is so full of all the fun and friends from our weekend in Atlanta.  I have been to Atlanta several times because one of my best friends from college lives there.  We made plans to meet during our visit, but sadly those plans did not work out.  In truth, we didn’t do anything that was especially “Southern” while there.  But there is something about the people who we met while we were there.

I don’t mean our friends or new people we may have met at the Reunion.  They come from all over the country and are wonderful.  I’m talking about the people at the hotel.  We stayed at the Atlanta Airport Westin and the people there could not have been nicer.  They had charm and treated us all as if we were visitors in their home rather than their place of business.  It was a wonderful feeling.

Then of course there are the accents.  Years ago, I was involved in Glassboro Summer Theatre which was run by Glassboro State College which I attended.  I worked as House Manager one year and many other years as an usher.  I got to know the cast members well.  Many of them were from the South and I have to be honest I found it so easy after a few weeks to fall into the accents.  That was where I actually came to understand that each Southern region has its own accent.  Very soon I sounded a lot like my new Southern friends.

The same thing happened this weekend.  We have friends from Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Texas.  By the end of the weekend, I felt myself falling into the accents again.  Funny thing-with some of the accents, I have to be talking to the person for a while before I can understand what’s being said.  There are some Serious accents.  Sometimes I wish that sub-titles were available!

But there is one thing that is my favorite thing about the South.  Of course it’s food related.  That would be the biscuits!  There was a wonderful breakfast buffet offered at the hotel.  They gave our group a wonderful reduction in price and of course when you’re paying for a buffet, you can go back as much as you like.  When I got in line and my eyes were dazzled by all of those shiny sparkly serving containers and then I lifted one to find it filled with biscuits…Well, my heart just leapt up!  They were hot and fresh and it was all I could do to keep myself from rushing back to my table, grabbing my napkin, filling it and running to my room.  I love biscuits that much.

I controlled myself. However, Sunday, I did splurge and I chose a second one.  That compounded with the fact that they offered blackberry preserves was almost more than I could take. 

Over the years, I’ve fondly thought about all of the Southerners I’ve met and my visits to Atlanta.  The South is beautiful and the People are wonderful.

But, Me?  I really only come for the biscuits!  😉

Happy Tuesday!!

The Truth I Tell My Weight Watchers Journal

You could probably all tell that I was not happy or satisfied with my result at Weight Watchers on Saturday.  I took it like an adult…didn’t scream or cry…but I was Not happy. 

Sadly, my dissatisfaction carried over to Sunday.  I started out well, but I found myself in one of those impossible time loops were Nothing filled me, Nothing satisfied me.  I have days like that from time to time.  I may even have a series of days like that or Heaven forbid, a Week like that.  I try to control them and keep them from happening, but in truth they do.

I always tell the truth here at BCDC about what I eat.  However, I don’t always tell the Whole truth.  I am sometimes guilty of sins of omission.  If only the omission could be What I eat, not the Telling.

One place gets the Whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. That is my Weight Watchers Journal.  There were times in the first few years that I was a WW member, that I would just stop writing my foods at a certain point in a day (or a week)  I suppose my thinking was…If I didn’t write it, I didn’t eat it.  That is such a big mistake to make.  I long ago gave up trying to fool myself into thinking it’s a good choice.

I now tell the Truth.

I now use a Three Month Tracker Journal instead of the little paper ones they give at WW each week.  My thinking is…If I have to pay for it, I’ll use it the way it should be used and get the most out of it. 

It’s hard for you to read, I’m sure but I used 22 points from my Weekly Points Allowance…22 EXTRA Points…The First Day of the Week!!  Not a good choice.  Not a choice I usually allow myself to make.  However, the good choice is-I wrote it all down, counted it in to my day and my week and now I’m moving on. 

I can’t change what I did on Sunday, but I can do my best to have a good, mindful Monday.  It’s no time to be getting off track.

We’ll be leaving Tuesday for Atlanta.  We’re going there to attend Ralph’s Army Reunion.  We always have a great time there and have such fun catching up with all of the men Ralph served with in Vietnam and all of the new friends we’ve made during the 11 years we’ve been attending the Reunions.

As usual when we travel, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post everyday, but I will definitely keep in touch by Twitter.  If you don’t follow me @BCDCFran , now’s the time and I’ll keep you up to date!

Not sure what our departure time will be on Tuesday, but hopefully it’s more on time than our departure for New Mexico!

Happy Tuesday!  See you from Atlanta!

The Last of the Best

So here it is…the day I have NOT been looking forward to.  By the time you read this, we should be on the road heading back to New Jersey.  As I write this, I’m almost totally packed.

Not as many suitcases as I came with, one at least is going back empty because it carried a set of dishes I brought with me.  The black bag full of books only got three new companions.  I think that was admirable of me to keep the limit to only three!

Nature did us the favor on Friday night of giving us a wonderful sunset.  I actually took a wonderful panoramic video of it, but can’t figure out how to post it.  Need a tutorial for that!  But I’ll share some beautiful photos with you as a send off.

Remember, you can follow me on Twitter while we’re on the road.  I’m not sure whether I’ll get the opportunity to post.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Happy Sunday!

Just a Little Sunday Drive

Ralph and I don’t mind road trips.  That should be fairly obvious from what we’ve been doing over the last three weeks!  So a quick ride down to Anthony, Texas, a suburb of El Paso, was nothing much for us!  Two hours each way, no problem.

It was an interesting ride and yes as Ralph chided me afterwards, I should have had my camera out.  Ok, so I’m frustrated at not being able to get good photos from a moving car, in low light, on alternate Thursdays…so sometimes I don’t bother.  Which is why I don’t have a photo of the 6 0r 7 mule deer we saw crossing the road all at one time!  They were beautiful.

Our route down, took us through an area called the Black Range.  It’s beautiful and otherworldly.  Since the first time I saw it, I’ve said that The Hobbit should have been filmed there.  It’s filled with lots of ups and downs and twists and turns.  You know…the kind of turns preceded by a yellow sign with a squiggly arrow that says “15 mph.”  VERY twisty!  It may be the reason for my upset stomach today.  I’ve had that happen on previous trips through there.

We made it safely to our friends house.  Ralph even remembered which exit to take and by taking the correct exit, he found the house without any frustration or phone calls saying, “We’re here…how do we get THERE?” 

We had a nice long visit with them.  We went out to lunch at IHOP where I haven’t eaten in years and I mean Years!  Our waitress couldn’t have been nicer and I was able to get a quesadilla with the chicken left in the kitchen.

 Pretty tasty and their coffee was really good. 

We came back to Ed and Del’s house after lunch and just spent the afternoon and evening chatting.  It was great fun.  They had planned on coming to visit us in Silver City, but Ed wasn’t feeling well.  Now he’s feeling better, so they may be visiting us later in the week.  That will be a real treat so that we can show them what we’ve been doing with the house.

It seems that this last week in New Mexico is going to be a busy one with various obligations.  Today, I get to play fashion co-ordinator with my friend, Tonja.  She’s leaving at the end of August for a month in Croatia, where she was born.  She’s asked me to help co-ordinate the wardrobe she’s taking so that she can make the most of her luggage space.  It promises to me interesting!  Hope my stomach cooperates!

I’ll leave you with some cool rocks that we passed on our road trip yesterday.

The landscape is amazing around here!

Happy Monday!!

Back In The Saddle Again

Good Morning!  Or at least I think it’s morning.  We were on the road all day Wednesday traveling from Lone Pine, California back to Silver City.  We left Lone Pine at 7:00am and got to our house in Silver at just about midnight. Looong Day!  Especially for Ralph since he did all the driving.  He’s still sleeping and he needs it.  We’ll probably just rest up today.

I promise I will get some pictures up soon both here and on Facebook.  That’s my project for later today. 

Most people, even people in California do not seem to know anything about Lone Pine.  We only found out about it about 8 years ago.  We were at one of Ralph’s Army reunions and we were heading to New Mexico when it was over.  We asked one of the guys who lives in California what he thought would be the best route for us to take.  His first comment was, “You can’t miss Lone Pine!”

Boy are we glad we listened to him.  Lone Pine has a wonderful history.  It is first of all the home of Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States.  It was only surpassed by Denali after Alaska joined the Union.  It is gorgeous, but then on the route we took, Scenic Route 395 there are so many beautiful mountains.

The other reason to visit Lone Pine is Cowboys and Indians (both kinds of Indians)  Over 500 movies and hundreds of television shows were filmed in and around Lone Pine, The Alabama Hills and Mt.Whitney.  Films from High Sierra to Gunga Din.  TV shows from Hopalong Cassidy to the Lone Ranger.  Plus many TV commercials as well.

When you go into town, nearly every shop and restaurant has signed photos from all of the Western stars who visited there over the years during the productions.  It’s just amazing.  We met a wonderful lady working in one of the shops who grew up there and she told me stories of meeting the stars when she was a little girl.  It’s a fascinating place.  But it seems no one has heard of it.

Since our last visit a film museum has been built.  We toured it for several hours and we could have spent all day.  It was so fascinating.  Again, pictures are coming!

We had such a wonderful trip to California, a vacation within a vacation.  Great to go to the wedding, INCREDIBLE to see  my cousins and now back to my Happy Place for a little while longer before our trip back to New Jersey.  I realize I’ve been a little remiss with posting the last few days and I KNOW I’ve been bad about commenting, but things will get back to normal.  Thanks to all of you who have hung in with me during this trip.

I’ll leave you with one picture.  A view of Mt. Whitney from the Alabama Hills.

 The photo doesn’t really do it justice, but believe me, it’s pretty spectacular.

Happy Thursday!  Back in the Saddle Again!

WIAW~The Veggie Burger Tour of Califorinia

Hello!  Whether I’m home, on vacation or on a road trip, I do my best Not to miss What I Ate Wednesday!  It’s a fun food trip and the brain child of Jenn over at Peas & Crayons.  Be sure to visit P & C when you’re finished here to read up on all the great food for the week and Leave Some Comments!

Peas and Crayons

You’d expect that getting vegetarian offerings would be easy in California.  For the most part it has!

A delicious sandwich that my cousin Kim made for us.  Portobello mushroom sandwich with Havarti cheese, tomato, spinach and red onion.  It’s supposed to be served on a pretzel roll, but she couldn’t find any.  It’s called a Rose of Sharon sandwich.  Even Ralph liked it and suggested we make them at home.  The side was couscous with veggies…Tasty!

A veggie burger I had at a charming general store in Markleeville, Ca.  It was delicious and huge served with barbecue sauce and home-made macaroni salad.  I’ll be doing a recap of some of th restaurants later in the week and let you know where I was.

The bad thing is that it was accompanied by this…

Perhaps the world’s largest vanilla milk shake (Ralph’s idea…Honest!)

When we reached Lone Pine, Ca.  I wasn’t sure what would be available, this being cattle country.  But…

At a great little restaurant called the Totem where we’ve eaten before, I found a veggie burger on the menu.  I was excited!  These were some of the best french fries I’ve had in a long time and yes… I did eat them.  I’ll get back on track soon.

As I mentioned, I’ll be doing a real recap of some of the places we ate.  In fact, I think I’ll probably be adding another veggie burger to my list.  Where we plan to eat dinner tonight is known for their burgers and yes…veggie burgers are among them!

So that’s the tour and that’s What I Ate Wednesday for this week.  Be sure to check out some of the other participating blogs and see what all the excitement is about.

By the time you read this, we should be on our way back to New Mexico.  I’m pretty excited!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday…The Great Veggie Burger Tour!