Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Old Mining Towns, Bridges and a Big Announcement from a One Year Old.

We went to Bonney Lake, Near Puyallup, Washington last Friday to see my sister. It was just an overnighter but it felt good to get away, just because we could. Joe only has a few more days of work before he retires, then we can do overnighters when ever we want. Sat we took a nice drive to a couple of old mining towns, Wilkeson and Carbanado, not far from where Jan. lives. It's also a back road to Mt. Rainier. Wilkeson was officially incorporated on July 24, 1909 and boasts an elementary school building dating from 1909. The town is named for Samuel Wilkeson, father of journalist and pioneer settler Frank Wilkeson. Sometime in the period of 1876-78, four large coal veins were discovered and mined near a region known as Carbonado in the Cascade foothills. The area became well known for its coal coking ovens as well as the natural sandstone formations that were the source of material for facing the new capitol in Olympia. At one time the town of Wilkeson had a population of about 3,000, but today it hovers around 400.* Some of this information was taken from  Wikipedia
 This is the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, built 1900, is a legacy of the many Eastern Europeans who came to work in the mines and quarries around Wilkeson. 

There isn't much left of the town but  we loved the old buildings.
This school is still being used today.
We spotted this quaint, still being used, little church. 
But we had to cross  this fast moving creek to get there.

I took this for you Mary-Pat
The Fairfax Bridge (formerly known as the O'Farrell Bridge) is a steel-lattice three-hinged arch bridge spanning the Carbon River on State Route 165 in Pierce County, WashingtonPrevious to the construction of the bridge in 1921, the only route south to the area around Fairfax was by train. At a total cost of $80,000, the bridge's deck sits 250 feet (76 m) above the river, which made it the tallest structure in Washington at the time it was built.
This is a one lane bridge. So Joe drove across and parked in a pull out on the other end. As you can tell by my hair the wind was blowing and it was biting cold! I was chilled to my bones. But it was a beautiful Kodak moment.

It is approximately 250 ft. straight down to the Carbanado River. I was using my Nikon camera and was using the automatic settings but the pictures sure didn't turn out very clear.

What was VERY clear was all this garbage that people just threw over  the edge along the side of the pull out.  I was so disgusted.  Such beautiful scenery and then to see this as I was getting back into the car. 

As we were heading back home, while leaving Wilkerson, we spotted this beautiful well kept home and this what proved to be the sweetest little lady. Watching her, we figured out she was loading wood from her garage on to this contraption and a little motor at the top pulled the wood up to her door.
She was lovely to visit with  and even though I was really cold, I wanted to ask her a little more about her clever wood hauler. She is a widow, 88 years young. Her late husband found this "Hay Hauler" at a garage sale  in Enumclaw, Washington. He hauled it home, and modified it into her wood hauler.  She said her home is for sale because her children are worried about her living alone.  They live in Pennsylvania and she doesn't want to move back there. I told her I couldn't imagine so many changes at her age and she agreed.  She also doesn't want to live with her children, but she knows they mean well and want to take care of her and for that she is grateful. 
Remember the Welcome to Wilkeson Sign at the beginning of my blog?  Well this is what you see as you leave Wilkeson.  It was a beautiful trip, but it was time to leave for Portland so we said goodbye to Jan, knowing in a few weeks we'd be back........for almost a whole month. She has a cement pad and full hookup by her garage.  It will be nice being close to her and Joe's kids and grand kids.

Last Thursday eve, we took a drive up to Sandy, Oregon to help our great grandson Bronson, celebrate his first Birthday.  And if he could talk, this is what he would want me to tell you.  "I'm going to be a big brother in July" Yep, Joe and I are going to be great grandparents again. Happy, Happy, Happy.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Feelings and Goals

The Celebration of Life is over, Joe has gone back to work after being off two weeks, the kids have gone back to their respective homes, and it's very, very quiet here at home. I find myself going from chore to chore, with no particular plan.Start the laundry, take things into the bedroom, work a bit in there, come back to vacuum the dining/living room, get side tracked, go to the kitchen. I feel like I'm going in circles, accomplishing nothing.  The other night, I was sitting on the couch, working on my lap top when with out thinking, I sat it on the coffee table and started to get up and go check on Viola.............Joe was out front weeding the flower beds Friday morning, and for a moment he said he thought he should come in an check on her. 
When I sit down for a few moments I find myself nodding off. It feels like I just can't get enough sleep. I'm ready for bed at 8:00- 8:30 in the evenings, but if I do go to bed at that time I'll sleep for a couple of hours and then be a wake for a long time before getting back to sleep and 6:30AM comes early in the morning. 
 There is a emptiness right now. We aren't necessarily grieving for her, but she came to live with us when we had only been married 22 months and now she's gone. I'm thinking it's going to take more than a few days to establish a new routine. One that only involves Joe and I. So I've decided, for a while anyway, if the house work gets done that's great, if it doesn't it will be there waiting for me the next day.  I felt bad that Joe had to come home tonight with breakfast dishes still in the sink, the laundry not done nor the vacuuming either. The only reason the bed was made is because he has made that his "job" ever since we were married.

Well on to my last topic.  I go for lab work every three months to check my a1c, cholesterol and liver enzyme levels. My Dr. felt if I would loose a certain amount, I would see a big difference in those levels. When I told him I thought I could do that but I needed to wait until after  what ever special events that were coming up soon, (that was back on August 8th to far back for me to remember) he looked at me  and promptly said "Betty you are a high risk for failure". You will always find an excuse to not start eating right.  I thought about that for a moment and it triggered something out of my past, a time when I had very low self esteem.  I bid him goodbye and I'm happy to announce that I lost those extra pounds plus!!!! Part of it was probably due to the stress of caring for Viola after her fall, and subsequent  multiple health issues and caring for her here at home with hospice help during her last days.  But I was also very careful about what I ate and didn't eat.  So I'm looking forward to November 27th, my next Dr. visit to hear what he has to say now.

 I would like to end my post this evening with this scripture which I have hidden in my heart so when I was so tired I could hardly get one foot in front of the other, I would be reminded of it and be encouraged. 
 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him".

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Employee of the month and "Never in a million years"

Mr. "G" with his gift basket and gift card to Olive Garden for being employee of the month at Miramont Pointe Retirement Center. Joe's retirement date was originally set for the 2nd week of January but today  we were delighted to hear, they have hired his replacement, and after a two week training period, Joe will be able to retire. This would be around the end of November.  To say we are thrilled would be an understatement.

On another subject, do any of you go to "The Big White Tent" event that deals with everything about RVs  in Quartzite during the winter season?  I am a bit confused. We thought that was always the first week in February but in my googling the subject it appears its the third week in January this year.  Can anyone give me correct information on this?

We have had a few full days, preparing for Viola's Celebration of Life Service on Sunday. It seems to be coming together nicely and for that we are truly grateful. Joe's son and daughter will be here tomorrow afternoon. Joe's family is very involved in the service. His cousin will be officiating, his daughter and two cousins will be providing the music. The cake we ordered for the reception following, was a result of one of the last conversations Viola had with her sister.  She said she liked white cake with lemon filling. So white cake with lemon filling is what was ordered. ...with white cream frosting, purple flowers and an inscription that reads "Happy 99th Birthday in Heaven" Purple was her favorite color. We went shopping today for a new lavender shirt an tie for Joe. I already had a purple sweater. The casket piece is also filled with purple flowers. 

I had a good laugh today when I called the shop where our RV is at the moment having new privacy curtains installed.  They also winterized the rig and I had to tell them to "unwinterize it"   In a million years we would  never have dreamed  our lives would change so fast. We plan on staying close to home until after Christmas. Then we think we will "be gone" for a few weeks. We want to have solar panels installed down near Niland, CA at some point, and we would love to "to the Big White Tent" also.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Viola's New Address

Joe's momma, Viola, has a new address. It is Heaven. She went to be with the Lord late last night. We will be having a Celebration of her life on Sunday afternoon.

This is why I have been silent on here for awhile. She was admitted to Hospice care and I have been caring for her here at home, just the way we wanted.  I also just didn't have the desire during that time to blog. Our plans for now are to adjust to being just the two of us. Joe will be done working the 2nd week of January. We then plan on doing some traveling.