Thursday, April 30, 2009

A few "test pictures" of geraniums and backyard birds(as seen through our back windows)


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April 30, 2009: Hmmmm......Yep...it is time to get out the lifevests....MORE RAIN!!!!!

WOW.....did it ever rain today!!!! This morning was cloudy, with a dainty peek through the clouds by that thing that we used to know as the sun....and then this afternoon, the clouds opened up and rain, rain, rain. AND.....more to come tonight and tomorrow and until ONE WEEK FROM TOMORROW!!!!! Yep...this deluge is supposed to become a daily event until May 8th!!!! Soooo, I plan to look for the lifevests tomorrow......

I feel asleep last night and didn't get any writing done....in fact, it never was even started! I watched Pres. Obama's press conference last night.....and you know........it is sooooo wonderful to see our President be able to think and to SPEAK in complete sentences and with a sense of humor!! THAT is something we have not been used to for 8 long years.

And then.....American Idol!!!! WOW.....what the hell happened???? THAT was a surprise....and with things being what they are.......it is now just a roll of the dice as to the eventual winner. I cannot remember any other year of American Idol when the final 7, than 6, than 5, and now the final four being soooooooo talented and sooooooo outstanding with their performances!!!!

Today, as I said, the rains kept me from doing anything outside.....except to look out the windows and realize that in a few short days from now I will not be able to see anything through the high, green grass that is growing by leaps and bounds!!! I may have to get a tractor and bail it when I finally ever do get a chance to do something about it. RAINS STAY AWAY!!!!

But, today....it was a reading, researching, test photo day. The 1st Lady left yesterday....late afternoon.....for Dr. Jeni's as she needed to stay with Max who is suffering from ear infections and a chest cold.....and we didn't think he needed to be taken out in this damp weather. Soooo, she stayed with him up there today.....and then is going on to her mother's in Monroe City until at least Monday, when she has to take her mother to a Dr.'s appt.

Sitting here at the bar in our kitchen/dining area, it allows me to see the west wall which is 2/3'rds windows.....and today was super for enjoying the birds....(the rains didn't bother them at all).....as they seemed to really be hungry!!! And so.....I got out my new camera and took some pics to continue to test the different settings, the telephone lense that is built-in, and to experiment. I was never ever able to do that with my 35mm SLR's as film was too damn expensive, but with this upgraded Canon SX10 IS.....which is a digital....I can shoot all I want and then just delete those I don't want to use/keep. And THAT I did..today!!!!

We did receive two sample itineraries for our proposed trip to Peru.......both from this lady who designs her tours with the individuals in mind.........based on what we want to do and see and where we want to spend extra time, etc ., etc. All of this is done with the premise that the 1st Lady and I will be the only ones traveling with a private guide and car/driver. Therefore.....the cost is a bit higher than I am wanting to pay......soooo, we will just keep researching our tour companies. Not that we have ruled this one out.....NO WAY. This type of tour is just what I would like......as in Egypt/Jordan we were two of only 8 people in our tour group...and it was fantastic!!!! But....I would like to get some reservations going as soon as we can.......

I DO want to get back on our schedule of traveling.......we still have on our "to go and see" list: China/Tibet, South Africa, New Zealand, Thailand, and I want to go to Northern India....as well as some short trips over to Europe. I haven't been to Europe since '01 and after making 12 trips to Europe in 20 years...... I am salivating just to get back over there!!! One major trip a year is The Plan!!!!!!!!!!

And sooooo, darkness (or clouds) has descended over Buford Heights and TheHowserHouse tonight......and I do have some laundry to fold before I settle in with a Robert Ludlum novel as I watch a bit of tv....can I really multi-task??? Hmmmm.......not sure.

But......nevertheless........and even with the rains....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 28, 2009: DAMN.....rain and rain and more rain!!!!

Will this ever end????? Should we build a boat???? But...if I did, how could I live on it without the internet?????? Hmmmm.....

Today......almost an exact copy of yesteday. The only difference was that we went up to Farmington as the 1st Lady had a Dr.'s appt. We have had to change docs as ours decided to go into hospital admin. of some kind.....and finding a new one is NOT easy. I didn't make an appt., but will probably need to do that soon just to get my name on a file in his office.

While she was seeing him, I went and received a horrific haircut on my 68 hairs. It is terrible.....nothing stands or lays correctly....and I look like some damn Texas skinned onion. Oh well.....at age 66 with a sagging hulk, who the hell is going to be "turned on" by this sagging hulk of mine???? NO ONE!!!!

And so, we then returned and by that time it was closer to 5 o'clock here.....and time for afternoon dose of dark red medicine. Checking my emails at that time.....I saw that the lady who runs one of the tour organizations in Peru was going to call me on Skype this evening, so I jotted down some questions to discuss with her. She organizes personal tours for couples or small, small groups for her tours through Peru.........and everything is completely personalized with no timetables other than just having reservations for planes, trains, buses. Soooo, we are considering using her...if the price is right.

This evening Nina did call....and we had a great conversation for almost 30 minutes. She was in
Urubamba, Peru.....and was able to see this sagging hulk, but she didn't have a camera for me to see her. I had some questions for her, as well as she had many for me. She asked me if I would meet with a class of "Indians" in a small village where her son is teaching them about various musical instruments....and for me to "talk" with them. Hmmmm......sounds fun! However, we will have to see the tour itinerary she puts together for us.......we did tell her that we would like to be in country there for 12 days....making our trip a total of two weeks. Again.....I don't know her price for this type of personal tour with our own private guide and driver. She indicated that we were in the neighborhood of $5000 for the two of us.....more than we had planned but.....let's see what happens here.

I do have another itinerary from another company, however...this one is a typical tour company that deals with larger groups. Soooooo, lots to study, lots to think about, lots to do!!!

And sooooo, after an exciting American Idol hour.......who the hell will be voted off??????? Matt??? Who knows???

Another day of rains......another day of trip planning and research.......and more rains expected the remainder of this week. However..........

LIFE IS JUST REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A HUGE AND FULL-OF-LOVE "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" TO OUR GRANDDAUGHTER, RACHEL!!!!!!

April 27, 2009: UGH!!!! Rain most of the day.......

Yep.....by mid-morning the predictions were true: RAIN!!! It wasn't steady, but it came and went as the rain bands swept through this area......and nasty, it was!!!

Today??? Well, I barely stepped out of the stick and brick.......I found myself sitting at the bar in the kitchen area.....working, researching, reading, researching, writing emails, reading,......all on the computer. The coffee was nearby......but, not close enough for it to be possible to spill on this laptop!

I have had contacts with two different tour organizations about the Peru trip.....and each individual from each group are now working on suggestions, recommendations, reading my "wants" for this journey, and then will put together a package plan for the 1st Lady and myself. With not very many specifics on Peru.......I a reading and reading and reading to bring myself up-to-date on that mountainous country....and some history about Machu Picchu and the Incas.

We contacted Jeremy to see if he was free this weekend, but he has to be in Washington for a meeting this Friday. Soooooo, we were planning to fly to Hartford IF he was free, but we will have to find another weekend to fly back there for a few days. The cost to fly from STL is sooooo damn good right now......only $118 round trip.....so, we can hardly not go for that cheap price!!! The main factor is that our time is running out...as we will be leaving for two months around the 1st of June for our western journey...........WHEW....more trips to make than we have time for...haha!!

Guess with this possible Swine Flu problem......we will have to re-examine our plans to fly down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in November for the wedding of a friend. But....that is a long way away.....and by then all of this could be not nearly as bad as expected. I sure hope this does not develop into the world-wide health problem that "they" are discussing........it might even affect our proposed trip to South America....ugh!!!

Sooooo, a day inside.....a day with my eyes glued to the monitor of the laptop.....a day of researching, which I really enjoy doing. But.....with all of this mental work.......as always.....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Grammy" enjoying playing with Max!!!

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Watching the latest of "Meghan's Productions"


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Planting those flower bulbs.......


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April 26, 2009: Another birthday....and back to stick/brick

WOW...another warm, windy, and wonderful day!!! From the predictions for the week.....change is on it's way....with cooler temps and wetter days and night.....UGH!!!!

Today was Jay/Jeremy's birthday......32 years old....already. WOW....it seems like only yesterday since I rushed the 1st Lady to Jefferson City to the same hospital where I had been born.....and only a short time after we arrived, Jeremy Jon Howser became a member of our family!!!!! And......not only was it such a wonderful joy that day.......but, for 32 years that joy of having him as my son still exists!!!!!!!!! There isn't a day that he doesn't make me sooooo damn proud to be able to call him my son.....WOW!

This morning was rather laid back.......just relaxing, reading the online newspapers, and then watching a small, hand-written drama production by Meghan and Rachel. Meghan always loves to create plays....and this one was just a good as all of the other ones that she has done over the years.

Dr. Jeni.....well, she had some flower bulbs that she wanted to get planted....and so, after much walking around the HUGE yard, trees, and then lots of discussion, I did spend a bit over an hour digging, breaking up clods of dirt, putting the bulbs into the ground, and then covering them with the not-so-good soil that is there. But.....they are in the ground with no warranty from the planter as to any prolific growth!!!!!!

We left mid-afternoon for the return trip to the stick and brick......and for some reason we were both more tired than usual. AGE???? Surely NOT.....hmmmm.....!!?? Could it be that we actually ARE aging......that being out of our comfort zone of our stick and brick makes us a bit tired????? GOOD GOD, I certainly hope that is not true!!!!!!!!! We both have toooooooooo many places to see, to visit, to explore, to discover, to enjoy around this shrinking world!!!!!!!!

And to that last sentence......after unloading the car,.......we watched Amazing Race....and then ever since then, I have been back "at it" as I work on the proposed trip to Peru for mid-September. MUST get some quotes back soon from a couple of tour agencies....as well as get my own costs defined and tallied up..........fun, but time consuming!!!!!!

After talking with Jeremy, we are feeling even more certain that we will fly to Hartford, CT for a few days in May to visit him and Anne-Marie......just don't know when as he is already finding himself busier than he expected. Plus....he is shuttling back and forth down to D.C. for meetings. But....we will find a few days....surely!!!

And soooo, I will close this little post for tonight...and get back online working on the Peru journey. Doing this myself(?) takes coordinating the flights from Chicago to Mexico City to Lima, Peru. Then a flt to Cusco/Cuzco with two nights there to adjust ourselves to the very high altitude.....9000-11,000 feet where altitude sickness is VERY common....and then take a train to Machu Picchu...and then a bus to the ruins.......and then everything in reverse on the return trip home. Lots of reservations, lots of scheduling merging.....and lots of prices to obtain and then.....make the decision to go with my own scheduling.....or to take a small tour, or perhaps even just hire a guide in each place......we will have to see.

Sooooo.....a good day.....and, as always.......

LIFE IS REALLY INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

CONTINUE INTO ARCHIVES FOR REMAINING PICTURES AND MY DAILY POST!!!!

BIRTHDAY!!!!

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WOW!!!!!

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This is MY Day!!!!

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Quite a table full....

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Don't you want some of this cake and ice cream??

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YEAH!!!!


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Lots of fun things here...

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The BIG BD gift....

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I'M FOUR YEARS OLD!!!!

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Ava with her new transportation.....

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Dr.Jeni, Darrel and children

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Ooooo....like father like son!!!

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Grandparents and all four grandchildren!!

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