Thursday, February 18, 2010

Update from Humboldt

(Another post saved on the computer - January 10, 2010)

Update from Humboldt
The new semester begins, for Rich, at Humboldt State University (HSU) on January 19, 2010, marking three years since we first came to Humboldt. It has been an interesting journey.
Though his initial thought was to pursue a Bachelor’s in Oceanography, he has since figured out that another program will better suit his desire to work in the ocean, rather than just about it. His planned degree is in Natural Resources Planning and Interpretation (NRPI) with a minor in Scientific Diving.
The Diving program here at HSU is highly regarded, and Rich has enjoyed the experience of participating in the classes very much. He has even been diving at Catalina Island (a University of Southern California facility) twice over the past three semesters of HSU Diving classes.
Though his requirements for his minor are fulfilled, this semester Rich plans to complete a Rescue Diving Course and Underwater Photography. These two courses will be very valuable in his future pursuits as a Scientific Diver.
Although we have had great challenges finding long term parking for our RV, since being here – it seems that few places are willing to accommodate rigs over 10 years old – most recently we have been blessed finding a “home” in the foothills about ten miles from the University; and it is beautiful!
We are in an area called Freshwater, renting a space from a very nice couple. The property includes an adjacent building that houses a laundry room, carport and what was previously a workshop. Since we’ve been here, with the help of others, we’ve been working on converting it to a “playroom” (think family room) – It’s coming along great!
Living here in the forest, but yet only about five miles from the Bay as a crow flies, it is truly breathtaking. Waking up every morning to incredible beauty; it’s like that feeling waking up when you’re camping. We have yet to build an outdoor fire pit, but it’s in the plan.
At this point we anticipate being here in Humboldt until sometime in 2011… but, more to be revealed. Thankfully, it seems, we’ll be able to stay in this place until Rich completes school. Only wish we could have found it sooner.
This past Christmas was spent in Oroville visiting Rich’s folks, and our son AJ and his family. We had only planned to be there for a couple of days, but God had other plans… The night before we were to leave we received a call from a friend offering us a van that she no longer needed. The only catch, it was in Reno, Nevada.
Interestingly enough, though, since we were in Oroville that made the drive to Reno only about three hours, one way, whereas if we would have been in Humboldt it would have meant at least seven hours, each way. So, we likely might have passed it up.
The weather was dicey so Rich watched for a “hole” to hopefully be able to get to Reno and back without having to chain-up. He managed to get up there, get the van then got back as far as Cisco Grove (just on the west side of Donner Summit) before it became evident that the alternator was not working.
With no resources for auto supply stores he found a safe place to park the van for the night and proceeded to ride back to his parents with his nephew who had accompanied him on the trip, and was now driving the car they went up in.
He got back to Oroville and figured out that the alternator on the car that his sister had had totaled in an accident (a couple of days before Christmas) might actually be able to work on the van. So he removed the alternator, charged the battery from her car, and the battery from our Land Cruiser (that is parked for a new engine) in order to take them with him --- just in case.
The following day he left, again with his nephew (and Ian), to go up to get the van. He arrived at the parking lot where he left it, to learn that it was a popular sledding spot… which thrilled Ian but made getting in and then out, after the van was running, just a bit challenging, to say the least.
Amazingly Rich made it back with “Betty Boop” (as she has been affectionately named) with just enough battery to get to the driveway, and then coast in. LOL! Rich spent the following day taking care of mechanical issues and Ian and I tried to help with the cleaning, as the van had been sitting for about a year.
That night we took it on a drive to visit AJ and family and she’s been running great ever since. In the next week or two she’ll get a tune up and she’ll be running great. Did I mention that Betty is an Econoline Conversion van? They are the ones with the raised roof, nice captain’s seats and all the things that make it nice for traveling.
Yesterday, Rich made it official: Betty is a Diver Transport Vehicle she got a California Diver sticker on the back window. Rich is really jazzed because there will be no more tent camping on the ground for his dives; Betty has a bed in the back that sets out with the touch of a button! Yee haw!! (I told him that he should have named her "Mona…" or perhaps that’s "Moana?" … just reflecting back to the van craze of the 70’s! LOL! Too fun!!)
Next weekend we’ll travel back over to Oroville to see family and put new tires on Moana, er I mean Betty! (LOL!) Also we’ll be there to give our love and hugs to AJ and family before they leave for their move to Texas.
They are very excited about this move. It is something that AJ has wanted for a long time. It has finally all come together; he and his wife have secured jobs near Dallas that will start the first week of February.
We are very excited for them, but will miss them much. It has been hard enough to see them on any regular basis just being seven hours away by car; now we’ll be at least that far away by plane. Oh, well… We’ll save our pennies and you know where we’ll be spending next Christmas. ;-)
We will return to Humboldt in time for Rich to start school on Tuesday the 19th. It’ll be a full weekend for sure, but worth it. (Then I suspect we won’t be back to Oroville for a visit until at least Spring Break in March.)
Other than delineating the blessings we have had over the past few months, I think this is a pretty good summation of the latest with us. I will do my best to be more frequent at posts this year. I look forward to keeping in touch.
Until next time…

If the RV's a Rockin'! ... It must be an Earthquake!! LOL!!

(one of the blog posts I previously wrote and saved to our computer)

Earthquake: 9 January 2010

What a way to start the New Year! Our blogging is so overdue… apologies! … So after the excitement of today’s 6.5 shaker here in Humboldt County, on the beautiful north coast of California, it seemed an appropriate time to get back in touch.

I will start with a confession: When the quake hit this afternoon, it was met at our house with much laughter. Yes, I said laughter. I feel a little guilty about this as I hear people recall how scared they were when it hit, and friends and family checking in to make sure we’re ok. Then I think back to 4:27pm… me, laughing heartily while the quake was just a rollin’!!

Perhaps I should explain? There really is a good reason. Just minutes before the quake I had gotten up to get a cup of tea and was teasing Ian about being an ornery ten year old! LOL! I told him that I was going to “get him”!

Down the hall to the living room and he went to the couch where I proceeded to tickle him and attempt to kiss him, while telling him that I loved him, and him all the while trying to block my kisses with a book. We were having a great time.

I didn’t pay much mind to the fact that after a minute or two of this both of our dogs came into the living room from the bedroom. All the while Rich was in our room sitting on our bed doing some school work on the computer.

When the shaker started it just seemed like it was just our 'horse play' that was moving our house (as most of you know we live in a motorhome…) It was soon evident that no amount of horse play could move our rig THAT much!!

Rich hollered “What are you two doing???!!” (Apparently he thought Ian was hanging from a shelf and swinging or something.) It was at about that same moment that I realized that we were having an earthquake. So I just hollered back to him “hang on Baby, we’re havin’ a shaker!”

I just couldn’t help but laugh, it all seemed so funny; and the timing so ironic. Being in a motorhome you’re on shocks, and we were a rockin’ and a rollin’! Rich said it felt like somebody, a REALLY BIG somebody (perhaps Paul Bunyan???) was outside shaking the RV. Ian said it was more like King Kong… Rich said no, it was Paul and Blue (his ox) right outside our door doing jumping jacks. LOL!!

The poor dogs, didn’t know what to do. The little one (Spike, our Pug) was sitting on the couch trembling and the big one (Sassy, our Boxer) was lying on the floor completely flat, as if glued there, and extremely quiet. Perhaps she was just praying for it to be over??

Shortly after the shaking subsided Rich and Ian hopped in the van and headed up the hill to check on our neighbors, a couple in their 70’s, to see how they fared. As it turned out the wife was home alone and quite shaken.

They had a fair amount of breakage to clean up, but overall did ok. Rich and Ian stayed there for an hour or so helping with cleanup and during that time the husband arrived home and their son and daughter also came over to help.

In their absence I decided to try to find a local radio station to listen to the updates. This proved to be a bit challenging as it seemed many stations were off the air, at least initially.

I did finally find a station in Ferndale, just south of us – nearer the epicenter than we were, and sustained more damage than I was aware of in our immediate area (I have since learned that Eureka got hit pretty hard, with utility disruption up to three days in some areas) – and enjoyed listening to the updates accompanied by songs to do with “shaking” … I didn’t realize there were so many with that theme.

The humor in the DJ's song selection reminded me of a Mary Chapin Carpenter song ("Down at the Twist and Shout") that cites having hurricane parties! Oh my!! (Only in Louisiana! LOL! Guess that's why so much of my family LOVES it there!! tee hee hee...)

I know that a good portion of the north county here was without power for many hours and lots of mess was attributed to our first quake of 2010, but truly we were blessed! I heard it on the radio and read it on many Facebook posts, and I concur, “we are so blessed, it could have been so much worse.” Amen!

Until next time…

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Internet Sweet Internet... Blog Sweet Blog...

Oh my gosh!! It's horrible how long it has been since I've posted. I've actually written a few blogs on our computer to 'be uploaded later' but alas.... later never seems to get here! LOL! Perhaps that day has FINALLY arrived!!

As of last night we have internet at our "house"!! Woo Hoo!! I am so excited! I have felt so out of touch. I truly will post (later today) the blogs that I have written over the past few months; just for fun!! I am more excited, however to post in the future. I am still getting the hang of the "blogging thing" and posting pics, etc. but it truly is fun.

Who would have thought that 20 years after first learning how to use a computer, usually with my nose stuck in a book and trying to follow every direction and suggestion... that I would be enjoying my computer time. I remember in those days you installed programs using DOS... then went to Windows... and all the terminology -- Aaghhh...! Well, the terminology still doesn't always make sense, but with the help of my wonderful 'sorta techno geek' hubby, I muddle through... and where the Blogging is concerned it is typically with joy as I feel closer to my friends when I am writing.

Over the next month we'll be planning a short 'vacation' of sorts, while Rich is on Spring break from HSU. So I look forward to not only sharing some of the considerations as to where to go, but maybe getting some input from you all. Then after we return we will be working on our summer plans.

Summer should prove to be interesting. Rich is applying for diving internships and jobs, so who knows where we may 'summer' ... LOL! But additionally we have several graduations just around the corner; yes three all within a week of one another in two different states... thankfully the states are CA and NV and the drive is only about 4 hours or so in between... we'll get that figured out!

Some of you know that our oldest son, AJ, and his family moved to Texas last month. That was bittersweet. I know in my heart how very long AJ has wanted to move to Texas, additionally living in CA with the economy the way it is and the taxes here were just killing them financially. Although it is now about six plus hours by plane, opposed to six or so hours by car, to visit them I am truly happy for their move. (Trust me I'm looking forward to the 'road trip' to TX! Yee Haw!)

This summer, June 4th to be exact, (in the midst of the various graduations) we will celebrate the addition of two more into our family "officially" -- everything will be finalized for AJ's adoption of his 'big kids' Claire and David. We are so excited!! We are especially excited because they will be coming back to CA for a few days to finish the 'court stuff'. (And you know we'll have to do something special!!)

So as you can see our summer calendar is already filling up fast. Hopefully it will work out for our grandkids (at least Claire and David, "Jack Jack" is still a bit young to be away from home for too long...) to spend some of their summer break with us. The details are still to be figured out, but you know I'll share my excitement as we go... At the very least... we will plan to head to Texas for Christmas this year ... and so it goes... 2010 is going to be busy!! Yay!! I am SO excited!! ;-)

I guess that's enough of a start to get back into the swing of my blogging. I will add the other blogs later (just for fun...) and I will add some pics. Ian's b'day is coming up on the 20th so you know you'll be hearing more about that and seeing pics in a couple of weeks.

((Hugs)) Smiles & Blessings... Until next time...

PS. Yes, hubby is really turning into a "Techno Geek" ... but we'll save that for another blog post (that he can write...)