Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Throwback Thursday: The Suitcase

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I know we had this exact set of luggage.

Fingerhut, the mail order catalog, lured us into purchasing the complete set. Travel was at the top of my list, and we needed luggage. My family enjoyed many happy vacations and travel adventures using these beauties.

But this set was not my first foray into luggage acquisition. Years earlier, for graduation, I had requested luggage. You can tell something about a person by the choices she makes. Travel and adventure is high on my list, as evidenced by repeated attempts to procure baggage (of the traveling sort). Though I’ve got suitcases full of the other baggage, for free.

The original set of luggage, oh my. Ugly as dog poo. Make that baby poo, because it was the same awful orange-yellow-mustardy color. Naugahyde and built to last. Only it didn’t last as long as our many years of trips and is now lost in dump land. Or perhaps it is making the rounds through different thrift stores, living in the garages of other bright-eyed wanderlust humans.

What gifts or purchases have you made in the past that reflect who you are?

 

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40 Years of Labor Days

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A 40 year friendship! You can see Crystal Lake but not Mt. Rainier, which is glowing in the background. Selfies are not my strong suit…

We first met 40 years ago today, Labor Day, at the Wapato Harvest Festival parade.

Newly arrived from Arizona, I didn’t know many people. He had lived in Wapato for nearly all his life. We came face to face in front of the pastor’s house on the “Ave” where church members and assorted tag-a-longs gathered to watch the parade before heading to the city park for rides, games, and food.

Tall, thin, curly-haired; my impression was of a ‘cool’ guy who couldn’t be bothered to chat with a short, sun-kissed non-native. By his report, he was cool but thought I was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen.

We made slow progress at first. His mom suggested he take me to the homecoming dance. “Nope.” So I went with my cousin from Seattle who was immediately the hottie everybody wanted.

Come spring, our relationship was growing in earnest and we became a couple. At least for a few months. Then I took a year off during our junior year. But like bees to honey, we were back together for senior year.

Off I went to Western Washington University, with the claim that, “If we can survive 4 years apart for college, we can survive anything.” My guy burned the road up between Wapato and Bellingham (4 1/2 hour drive one way), coming to see me every other weekend. Sometimes I traveled back home but then he had to share me with everyone. Back before cell phones and computers (I KNOW! Gasp!) we had a code phone call ring. To avoid the charges of our dorm phone, he would call, let it ring twice, then hang up. That was our good-night check-in. We did talk on the phone, but not much. We spent much of our time writing letters back and forth. Boxes of notes, cards, and creative tomes of love…if I had spent that much time studying…

In June of 1985, we became Mr. and Mrs. This was just a new beginning to our life of adventure, starting right off by driving to So Cal and Disneyland (giving our parents a heart-attack). Our honeymoon was the first of many on-the-road journeys Mr. and Mrs. enjoyed and plan to enjoy.

Two babies, five grandchildren, furry pets, revolving jobs, and numerous trips, houses, and escapades, we are still best friends and more in love each day. Sure there have been struggles and explosive moments, but we’ve stayed committed to each other. It’s wonderful to have a best friend and partner standing beside you on the journey, one who knows all your faults and fears and how you look in the morning (or after childbirth or surgery or the stomach flu) and who still loves you and takes you on dates and hiking in the mountains and on motorcycle rides and finishes your sentences or phrases cloned from favorite movies.

40 years of labor (of a different sort) and here we are today. Best friends, lovers, partners in crime. God knew what He was doing when He hooked us up. And we’ve kept Him busy taking care of us ever since.

To my best friend.

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Talk to Me Tuesday: Is RV Living Genetic?

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The Wheetley sisters had a weekend get-together a few weeks ago, hosted by my cousin and me. Ranging from 73 to 90, the four siblings are getting to the age where each trip just might be the last.

But persist, we did. Now I’m not going to mention age-related issues, but let’s just toss out a few things to consider if you are planning a cabin-in-the-woods adventure for the mature crowd.

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Steps. There will be steps. Unfortunately our cabin had NO handrails for the stairs climbing to the deck and front door. Gorgeous building, plenty of room, majestic pine trees, amusing chipmunks (squirrels? we could never decide) living in the roof of the cabin next door. But NO handrails.

The rule of thumb became: No one goes UP or DOWN the stairs unless Melissa or Angie is offering arm support (and perhaps humming the bridal march). I won’t mention names, but one of us did not follow the rules. And fell down the stairs. So there is that to consider.

Stubborn independence. We Wheetley’s are an independent lot. I think this character trait strengthens with age. Maybe even quadruples. Just be forewarned.

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Food. The two of us planned excellent meals, if I don’t say so myself. But we planned way TOO much. I went to the cabin with an ice chest full of food. I came home with an ice chest full of food. Not the same food, but most of the leftovers. I think smaller meals and lots of tasty snacks (zucchini bread, blueberries, fudge, fresh fruit, and cheese seemed to be the favorites). Keep that in mind. And always ALWAYS check the lid on new fresh pepper grinders before adding pepper to a pan of quiche that’s ready to go in the oven. Ah-hem.

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Hot tub. We enjoyed the in-deck hot tub surrounded by towering trees and blue skies. And neighbors going to and fro on the nearby road, but who’s worried about an audience? The STEPS rule came into play at the hot tub, with the added element of danger due to the slippery water. I’m convinced we could have videotaped us trying to maneuver all of us into and out of the water and won big money on American’s Funniest Home Videos. But the only one who fell in was Melissa, I mean, a younger person who was in charge of keeping everybody else safe.

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Games. Puzzles. Crafts. Oh, my! Surprisingly, these were not the hit. Socializing, grazing, and sipping before meal drinks were the favored activities. Three of us enjoyed working two puzzles. I colored in an adult coloring book (and later turned that paper into stamped cards, thank you very much). So I wouldn’t worry too much about planning extra activities. Family stories and funny incidents made up most of our adventure. And toting along a few chick flicks is a good idea. We enjoyed movies after dinner.

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Giggling. This will happen. At any time of day or night. And certain somebody’s might sneak into the sisters’ bed to warm up and giggle some more. Can we say adorable?

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We did make 2 short outings. One day we hit the thrift store and fudge shop, bringing back probably 2 million calories in a variety of fudgy flavors. A different day we took a drive to see the lake. No getting out, just a scenic tour.

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Where does the RV genetic link come in? My husband and I have been living in an RV two years this month. This is temporary (I hope) as we figure out the building a small home process, but still, we are living in an RV. During our many trips down memory lane, I realized that three of the four sisters spent at least two years living in RVs! Let me say that in no way have I ever wanted to live long-term in an RV, yet here I am. Genetically predisposed? Or environmentally influenced?

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Either way, I love my Wheetleys, whether it’s their fault I’m in the RV or not. Wink, wink. And we had a great time and made new memories.

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SURVEY TIME: Are there any other Wheetleys who live (or lived) in an RV? How about the Hill side of the family?

 


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Don’t Need to Go Camping

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Funny how life choices change your thinking.

While on a motorcycle ride over Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I saw numerous (read: hundreds) of campers heading to the mountains and other recreational locations around the northwest. Roads were more crowded than usual, grocery stores were packed with shoppers filling up ice chests and RV refrigerators, and every campground we passed had RVs and tents slotted side by side.

I’m not sure how much fun all of those cozy camp sites were, but I was not interested in the slightest.

BECAUSE. We are camping. All. The. Time.

We live in our RV. Not permanently (please, God, not permanently), but while we research, plan, and build our small home.

Our family used to love camping at the beach. We’d use the old Prowler, load it with supplies, and drive five hours to our favorite beach locations in Ocean Shores. Those were the good old days. Dog, kids, junk food, sand, toys, rain, shells, campfires, …

Now?

No. Since we are camping 365 days a year, give or take an overnight visit with family or friends, hooking up the RV in which we stay all the time and heading to a different place to stay in the same RV does not sound appealing.

Plus. We LIVE in the RV. Full-time. There are many extra things in our RV that do not relate to travel and camping. And as we are not retired, we can’t hit the road for months at a time.

For now, we shall enjoy motorcycle trips and staying at hotels (which include HUGE showers and sometimes even bathtubs). After we move into our future home, we’ll strip the RV clean and load it up with camping supplies.

Then we will need to go camping.

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One Year in RV: Survival!

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August 20 was our one year anniversary of moving into the RV. And guess what? We made it!

I haven’t taken him (my honey) out, though I’ve sent him out when I need to clean (or write, cook, organize, read . . .).

He still loves me even if the heat factor in an RV – during summer – is higher than my happy tolerance level.

He survived record-breaking snowfall and freezing winter temps regardless of how close I came to helping him build his own snow igloo far far from the RV.

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I managed not to throw out the superfluous (not for him) heating items – throw, bed blanket, heat lamps, floor heater – and we were both able to speak in civil tones. Most of the time.

Long-time RV living is not for the faint of heart, but definitely for the adventurous!

Let’s pretend you just arrived for a fancy cooked-mostly-by-BBQ meal. We’ll fill you in on some observations and interesting events that came about from our inaugural RV year.

– It is possible! One can live without piles of stuff – and survive!

– Storage? Premium. If we don’t use it, it has to go. To storage, to someone, to the thrift store…

– Less is more. Truly. The less we have inside the RV, the more space we have to move about.

– Cooking is a bit tricky. Too hot in the summer for the stove. Very humid in the winter.

– Humidity is an issue. One chore I never dreamed of having? Wiping down windows on a daily basis.

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– Electrical circuits can and will be blown. Until you figure out which items can be used at the same time.

– The electric skillet will most likely blow the fuse if anything else is plugged in and going. Anything.

– Do not use the skillet and the AC at the same time.

– Splurge on the skirting. We only experienced one tiny freeze in a waterline. That’s saying something when we were below zero several times and hovered in the frozen zone for months.

– Cats. Litter. Fur. Toys. Cat tree. A bit crowded. Now that they are free to roam, we are all much happier. The catio is disassembled.

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– Mice. Peek before letting cats back inside. Trust me on this.

– Company. Things will be different when guests arrive. Say, for instance, seating. Or standing. Finding room to maneuver. But that’s what makes entertaining exciting.

– Breezes in the bedroom. This is awesome. Open both windows and the wind just blows across our bed. As does dust, smoke from fires, and stinky skunk fragrance, but still!

– My office. A drawer. Half the dinette bench plus the table. That’s it. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I yearn for a bigger creative area.

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– All of outdoors. Right here.

– We have everything we need. Running water, electricity, internet, laundry facilities, bathroom, bed, fridge, grands in and out.

– Our home moves. We can hitch it up anytime we want and hit the road.

I’d say our inaugural year was pretty successful. So you’ve seen me wear the same clothes over and over again. I am dressed, right?

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Happy RV anniversary to us! Come on by, we’ll cozy up and share a seat. Maybe even throw in a meal or tour of the facilities. Feeling up to the challenge? Either the visit or the RV living? Love to hear about it.

 

 


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The Stack (Paper): Throwback Thursday

Originally blogged on 12-9-2015, this post gives you a glimpse into the life of a writer. Sheer amounts of paper, paper clips, organization, unfinished housework, and crazy messy office.

Meet the completed project.

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And . . .

I miss my huge office! Writing in an RV is challenging, inventive, exciting, and sometimes inspiring. Oh, desk in the storage unit, I’d love to be able to snap my fingers and pop you back and forth to the RV – as needed.

The completed manuscript with sources, sketches, and documents ; Rather, I should say 1/2 of the completed project

(Read below from 12-9-2015)

This is what I’ve been up to. Instead of blogging.

There is not much time left in my days (weeks, months) after planning, writing, editing, printing, sourcing, compiling, emailing, packaging, and mailing this baby.

Oh, yes. This is my baby. The first half of a 12-month activity book for preschoolers and missions has been delivered (emailed and mailed) to my faithful preschool resource team at Woman’s Missionary Union.

The completed manuscript package and its twin – the emergency copy that can be mailed if the PO loses the original

Now they get to do their huge part.

And I will continue on with the above steps for the second half of the book.

The writing life is grand.   

A glimpse of the chaos that is my office, including desk, side table, and floor


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5 Ways to Play the Hidden Mickey Game

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Can you spot the hidden Mickey?

My husband and I recently enjoyed an anniversary trip to Disneyland and California Adventure. We enriched our experience (and even discovered new areas of both parks) by playing the Hidden Mickey Game. Here are 5 ways to play the Hidden Mickey Game.

1. There is a Hidden Mickey Game? Check this off the list! Now you KNOW there is a Hidden Mickey Game. You can’t play if you aren’t aware of the game.

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2. Imprint your brain with the image of Mickey’s head and ears – very recognizable. There are also other full body images and side profiles of Mickey, but we spent our time hunting the head image. Train your brain to recognize this shape and you will discover it everywhere. Disney does this well.

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3. Go Mickey Hunting. Look at fine details of hotel rooms (especially at the resort hotels), decor, carts, rides, artwork…every scene you see is a possibility. Even before you get in the front gate, you can find Mickeys in the central plaza. Document your finds! When we got home and looked at the photos I took, they were mostly hidden Mickeys!

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4. Ask. Nearly every attraction or ride or area has an intentional hidden Mickey. We found cast members to be very knowledgeable and helpful in our hunt. Some told us exactly where to look while others gave hints. Some Mickeys are very easy to spot, others we searched and searched for on multiple attraction rides and could not see them.

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5. Buy the book! Yes, there is a book. I didn’t want to purchase a book, as I felt it was cheating. But I finally caved and grabbed it. There are so many planned Hidden Mickeys, but also others that can be discovered. The book is older, so some Mickeys are gone due to new construction. And new Mickeys are added every time they create new attractions or remodel or update areas of both parks. The book was a huge help. On the plane ride home, I went though it page by page and jotted down the date we discovered each Mickey.

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Extra Tip: Listen and watch. There are others searching out Hidden Mickeys. You can help each other once you are aware there is a game going on!

Adding the Hidden Mickey Game to our Disney adventure was fun, fun, fun! People looked at us as if we were a bit odd, but that only added to our excitement!

Happy Mickey hunting!