Friday, December 30, 2011

Slow start...Perfect End !

Have you ever had one of those nights that you thought morning would never arrive?  We had made the mistake of falling asleep entirely too early  and then  woke up again only to be wide awake until 3am.   I sure don't like those nights when I feel like I have worked harder trying to get some sleep, than I had worked all day.    I was afraid that this was going to be the beginning stretch of "getting our nights and day's" mixed up.   How wrong I was...thank you very much!

Yesterday was  Bob and my 5th anniversary and all week Bob kept asking me..."What day is it".... ?    He wanted to be sure that we did something special for our anniversary.   Folks, the man still has romance,  even post-stroke.    We could not have had a more perfect day.

It takes us the better part of the morning to get going, however the sun was shining and by 11am it was already 65 degrees.    We headed out to see the USS Alabama in Mobile AL.   It is definitely on the not miss list.    The ship is permanently docked in Mobile Bay with very easy access even for the largest of rigs.  

Admission to the park is 12.00 and in my opinion is the best value for an ENTIRE day's entertainment.    I had no idea that the park was home to not only the battleship, but also a submarine,  many military artifacts, jeeps, aircraft, tanks,  and memorials
honoring the service men and women  for their duty to this country.   Speaking for myself, and have never even served in the military, there is a feeling of pride that came with walking the decks of this landmark.   As we were taking in all of the tour, I noticed  a  gentleman on the ship  wearing a veteran of WWII hat and a huge smile.   I can only imagine his pride!

As I may have said in one of my very early Blogs in our travels,  I should have paid more attention in History class in school.   I am certain that I had learned about all of the things that I am now seeing in real life, yet it meant little to me until now, 45 years later.   I am thankful to be experiencing and seeing things that many folks of today take for granted.   It is never too late and I wish that my history teachers only knew that their dedication was not going to waste after all.

This battleship housed 2200 - 2500 enlisted personnel, 150 officers, and could accurately shoot 22 miles.   During it's service, it downed 22 Japanese aircraft during WWII.   (We noticed that it was commissioned on August 16, 1942 ten days before Bob was born, to which Bob's comment was WOW!)

Can you imagine the weight of the links of the anchor?

We were only capable of scratching the surface of this monument.  Our only wish is that we had allowed more time.   One could easily spend days seeing and touching all the  park has to offer.    Big Band music was being broadcast throughout the ship, just like it was in the 40's... taking you back in time....aah wonderful when suddenly, came a voice "Now hear this, Now hear this, Paul Johnson please pick up line 3 for a message"....WHAT ????   How can that be....nearly 70 years of time forward in one message.  Incredible!

I found it interesting how the duty roster operated.  As an officer, if you were on duty, you found the place of your name plaque, turned the knob..and you were officially on the clock.   Being an officer had it's privileges.    The dining room even showcased silver service used on the ship, and the hall was quite spacious.  

The stateroom's for the officers consisted of a space possibly 8' x 10' and was furnished with a bunk for two.   The rooms were quite dark with no outside light.    You will have to take my word for how interesting it was, as my camera would not take a decent picture to share.   I do know that yesterday's tour gave me a real appreciation for  the spaciousness of our (non-slide) coach.  

By late afternoon, it had been a long day and lots of exercise on board the ship for us.   Time for a late lunch.   This is where our perfect day became even more special.   We stopped at a restaurant named "Felix Fish Camp".   Do NOT pass up this gem if ever in Mobile.   It is situated right on scenic Mobile Bay.  As luck would have it, we arrived when it was not busy and had a front row seat right by the gigantic windows that overlook the bay and coastal grasses.   Pelican's were sunning themselves right outside the window and fishing boats slowly making their way out into the bay.  The restaurant prides themselves on service and I must admit it is a rare occasion to have service like that.   The Crab Soup and Bloody Mary's are to die for !!!   In honor of our special day, it is customary to offer a complimentary dessert.  What an ending to a perfect day.

We had the bonus of not only a special outing but also were treated to a front row seat for another spectacular sunset.    Life is good ! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Don't feed the Alligators???

So we didn't....Our intention was to  walk along Mobile Bay  in celebration of Christmas.  The sun was shining, it was warm, and just a slight breeze so we headed out today rather than save our Holiday touring for tomorrow.  What a great day.

We headed the other direction !   It is OK though because there is no direction for anyone to walk that escapes  the beauty of this area.  

I have been wanting to go back to the community of Fairhope because it is such a quaint small town.   Many of the buildings are patterned and designed after the French Quarter in New Orleans.  The historic neighborhoods are filled with small cottage style homes all decorated for Christmas.

My only regret is that Bob does not share the same enthusiasm for this type of place, although he did admit he enjoyed the day.   Hopefully you will enjoy some of the Kodak moments that I captured.

This bench was dedicated by family and friends of Sherwood and Annie Mc Broom, and was sitting in the sunshine on the Pier.  Although there were many benches along the Pier...the wording on this special one moved me ..."A Fairhope Love Story".  

We folks from the upper Midwest seldom see blooming roses on Christmas Eve. (You now know how temperate the climate is for the roses to still be blooming)

Mobile Bay is very shallow and we could see the bottom the entire time we were walking on the Pier.   It is hard to believe that Mobile Bay is so tranquil...kind of  like the little town of Fairhope AL

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yet another wonderful day in Retirement

Weather was iffy...but we took a chance and we are so glad we did.    No words can adequately describe the I shall just share pictures.

The lighting varied so much throughout the day with a combination of sunshine, fog, some drizzle and varied cloud cover.   We got it all....except the ICE and SNOW.  We hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One Year Anniversary

Yesterday was a milestone for Just BS!  It was  the first anniversary of Bob's stroke.   For some reason I found it to be a very emotional day when in reality, I should be thankful that our lives have not been altered more severely than they are.

It has been a year full of prayers, sucesses, challenges, laughter, tears and blessings.   We tend to take life for granted, and just squeeze through, not realizing just how blessed we are to be in good health.   I have seen  the frustration and the fear in Bob's eyes over this past year and yet his faith and determination have carried him through several downturns and disappointments.   The man is my rock.   I ask myself if I would have the same strength had the situation been  reversed.

If there is one silver lining in all of this mess, it is that Bob was not younger, he had retired,  and has a good insurance as well as Medicare to cover the extreme expenses.  I have no idea what people do financially when a life altering disaster like this knocks at their door. 

I  thought it would be fitting to see an overview of  this past year in celebration of all of the hard work.    We do have so much to be grateful for this Christmas.

We are once again on the "Road trip of a Lifetime"  and we hope to continue down the road of recovery.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Exercise in Frustration

I have been wanting to try my hand at making a Magnolia Wreath for some time and since the RV Park has lots of Magnolia's I got permission to cut some to make a little spot of Christmas for ourselves.  
 After breakfast,  I got my clippers handy and headed off to the woods.  I was surprised and excited  not only finding Magnolia but lots of holly, red leaves, and  a few other dried weeds to use.   Since childhood and for as many years as I can remember, I have always enjoyed walking in the wild and foraging for weeds to use in crafting.   I am not sure if it is the  quiet of the woods or the attempt at satisfying my creative side that draws me to collecting.   I have very fond memories of  my mother using field  corn and dried weeds displayed with her antiques.   Whatever the reason, I find peace !

As I was building the wreath it seemed to get bigger and bigger and was soon out of control.   I am suddenly faced with..."OK, now what...where do I go with it".   Did I mention that planning is not one of my strong points ?  (LOL)   I tend to just jump in with both feet...and whatever happens, happens !    I figured no problem,  I will hang it on the front of the coach....Hmmm,  didn't think of the fact that the engine is in the rear and there is no grill to attach it to.    I had no alternative but to open the awning and hang it from the strap we use as an anchor for the awning.   
 Somehow it is complete, however, I am not sure it was as relaxing of a project as I had hoped it would be .   That is alright though, it was about 60,  the sun was shining and we have no  SNOW.   Life is good   

UPDATE:   45 minutes later:     I am glad that I took a picture because Bob woke up from his nap and didn't like the way I had it hanging from the awning...took the strap down, dropped the wreath into a heap and it now looks like it went through a hurricane.   I am reminding myself that I shall be thankful that he is trying to be of help.  Oh the memories....


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pensacola Lighthouse Tour

As we headed to the Naval Air Museum on Saturday, we were sidetracked by the Pensacola Lighthouse that is still operating and shines over Pensacola Bay.   It is also on the Florida Historical Registry.   The lighthouse was constructed in 1859.  During the Civil War the lens was removed  to prevent it from being used by Union ships navigating the waters of Pensacola Bay.

The tower is 160 feet tall and the base is 30feet wide.   It gradually narrows to 15 feet wide at the top.  

The inside houses a gift shop that sells all types of items and is very tastefully done to not alter the original architectural details.  

Over the years the lighthouse has been struck by lighting, shaken by earthquakes, and battered by hurricanes and yet stands proud, guarding the coast.

Rumor has it that it is also haunted.   Ghost tours are held and small groups can climb the 177 steps to watch the Blue Angels thunder across the skies.

The circular stairs go all the way up the tower and at the bottom of this next picture there is a 5 gallon can.   Each night the watchman had to carry 2 cans up to the top in order to keep the light illuminated

Bob climbed up the first flight  of 11 steps and  then discovered that he had another 166 to go...he decided maybe another time !

I shot this picture while standing under the staircase looking up.   I loved the look !

Can you imagine  climbing 177 steps and all  in a circles, not to mention having to climb down also.     

A couple of the rooms on the first floor were depicting what life was  like for the lighthouse keeper.   Very interesting !

As we were leaving I could not help but enjoy the Poinsettia's planted in the flower beds and the unique lines at the rear of the lighthouse.

Can you imagine this being the view from your front yard? 

When can I move in?