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Roadside America Part Two: Peanut Butter Cookies.

Way back when I was a kid, probably around the age of twelve or thirteen because we lived on Glen Haven in the “black shack” (another story for another time) I made a batch of peanut butter cookies. Those who have seen me cook or bake know I am horribly messy. As we are eating the cookies some flour had spilled on the table. My mother looks at it and it is moving. She announces we have boll weevils in the flour but the ones in the cookies are dead so we eat them anyway. This was way before computers or the internet so I couldn’t look them up. It’s a good thing because they are pretty gross. Imagine my excitement when I’m looking for places on Roadside America close to Troy and there is a boll weevil monument thirty minutes away. Emily says we must go because my mother has told her the peanut butter cookie story more than once.
Upon reading up I discover boll weevils eat cotton and destroyed the cotton crop in the early nineteen hundreds. This caused the town of Enterprise to plant peanuts instead and saved the town. The monument should have been to George Washington Carver but would never have happened in the south at this time period due to segregation. So a man named Roscoe Fleming set about to construct a monument to the boll weevil.
The history was crazy. First of all it was a statue of a Greek woman wearing a Peplos holding an oil lamp over her head. It was in the middle of a giant bowl and water shot out the end of the lamp. However it was too powerful and the fountain was only used once. Before the streets were paved mules would drink from the bowl. There was no boll weevil on the statue until 1949 and the first was the size of a fist. The bug was stolen in 1953, 1974, 1981, and 1985. Each time the weevil was made larger. Then on July 11, 1998 not only was the weevil stolen but the lady’s arms were ripped off. Fear not, a mold of the entire monument had been made in 1996 and exact replica was cast out of unbreakable polymer resin. They say the new weevil is the size of a basset hound. I got super close to it and it did not look as big as a basset hound.
The monument sits in the middle of the intersection but since it was a Sunday there was no traffic.

The town was super cute and since Emily is a foodie she found a couple restaurants that they want to come back and check out. I also enjoyed the murals. Sadly it was Sunday so the Boo weevil museum was closed.

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However,  boo weevils are not found in flour. Boo weevils eat cotton. Flour weevils live in flour and eat the dust. I was going to go into more detail but after reading up on them, I really just want to vomit so if you are interested just google.

Mole moral ~ A fun story about me will forever live in Emily’s memories when she thinks about the three months she worked in Alabama. Also I have thrown out all the flour! Hahaha

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Roadside America Part One

I think I discovered Roadside America looking for the biggest ball of twine. I’m blaming this on my father-in-law Larry. I believe it was our South Dakota trip that the girls and I took with him and my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and her son. When we were planning it, I wanted to stop at Laura Ingall’s Wilders house and he was teasing me about the biggest ball of twine. This was long before I had an iPhone or new what an app was.
I was looking at places to see since rain was predicted all weekend in Destin. I discovered Cross Garden, Hell’s warning label. Reading up on it, it reminded me of Salvation Mountain.  I had drug Emily and Micheal there last summer so they were down for going. Just as we arrived it started raining.
Salvation Mountain is out in California and looking at it gave a sense of peace and love on an acid trip. Driving up to the crosses was scary. Granted the man had passed away in 2004 and it has not been kept up. I felt like I was back in the Baptist church I attended from the age of five to twelve. I could almost hear Reverend Starke yelling during the alter call, “if Jesus is calling you to be saved and you don’t come to the alter and die this week you will go to Hell”. I also thought this represents the south and the Baptist church. I’ll include a few pictures and then copy and paste some information from Roadside America. I found the story fascinating.

Rice started putting up the crosses in 1976 after his mother died. Actually his parents grave markers are in the front yard of his house. We decided it must be abandoned but paid for because even his red truck with the crosses on it sits under the carport. We didn’t walk on the property but viewed from the street. It was a little too frightening. He felt he was like Noah and called by God to make these crosses. Sadly he only believed two percent of the population would go to Heaven and the rest would burn in hell where it is hot, hot, hot.
I found pictures on the internet of what he looked like and what it looked like when it was kept up. It was much better but still as scary as the thought of hell. I’m glad we went to view it. Tomorrow we will going back to Montgomery to see another attraction that triggered a childhood memory that my mother will enjoy and will live forever thanks to the Internet and this blog.

Mole Moral ~ Don’t let it rain on your plans, find something just as fun to do!!

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Beaker

Sometime back in April my good friend Laura told me about a job website called indeed. So I downloaded it to my phone and starting looking at what types of jobs were available in the area. I hadn’t looked anywhere outside of the hospital I worked at in almost thirty years. This is foreshadowing so pay attention. Within the first week a job popped up with Washington University looking for a volunteer camp nurse in August. The camp was called Camp Kesem and it is for kids whose parents have or had cancer. It would be held in Burbon Missouri.
After doing a little internet research, I felt called to apply for the position. However the last time I did a resume was in 1998 when I applied for the school nurse position at Abiding Savior Lutheran School. That was before I even owned a computer so it would have been typed on my electric typewriter. So I called upon my friend Liz to help me out. I filled in the blanks on this resume template and Liz worked her magic. After I finished reading it, I said to myself even I would hire me.
After submitting my resume, I heard back within an hour or two and as long as I passed the background check, camp was game on. It gave me something new to look forward to over the summer.
Camp is run by volunteer college students. The camp also only uses Nicknames. I got to pick mine so being the original weirdo I am, I came up with nurse Red. (At least it wasn’t rachrn34, my other go to name.) This makes being able to blog even better because my readers will not know anyone’s real names. So Beaker is the kid in charge. I haven’t asked him where he got his name from. I assumed it was from the Muppets but after our conversation yesterday, I probably just dated myself again.
It took me two days to finally figure out who beaker reminds me of. Brad from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He’s the one who worked at the burger joint. Now that movie is a cult classic in my house. Do you think Beaker had even heard of it? Heck no. He had to google it. I told him he should watch it at some point in his life. Beaker is an awesome young man and it’s been a great week and he’s doing an amazing job.
Mole moral ~ There comes a point in ones life when you might feel irrelevant or out of date. I’m fighting this until the day I go and meet Jesus.
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Vacation Adventures Part Three

Due to the unplanned flat tire adventure the night before, I discovered we were only thirty minutes away from Joshua Tree National Park. Now I had wanted to visit it four years ago on our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary but it wasn’t anywhere near Death Valley or the Grand Canyon. So I talked the other three into taking a side trip. Little did I know that it was thirty minutes the wrong direction and then forty-five minutes across the park and then another forty-five back and then back thirty minutes. I guess I really shouldn’t plan vacations. But I was very excited to see it.

We stopped in and talked to the park ranger. He told us to see the cactus area but if there were bees swarming to jump out and take a couple of pictures and leave. Luckily, they were not, so we were able to walk around. They had just finished blooming. They were kind of sad looking though.

 

Somehow we managed to end up on the other side of the park and totally missed the biggest tree in the park. When we asked the ranger at the other end she acted like we were insane and had never heard of such a thing. Apparently it is not marked or anything. The prettiest part of the park had this

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Of course the day I show up the bees decide to move to a new hive. This is the story of my life. However this is where most of the trees were located so we took a few pictures and then we headed to Salvation Mountain.

 

It was then time for the six hour detour to see the four corners. Now Emily seems to have forgotten she ever said she wanted to see it but she did. I did some reading about the four corners before we arrived including yelp reviews. The biggest thing that stuck out was the lack of bathrooms. So I made sure we stopped at the gas station before it. When we arrived they did have the type of bathrooms that national parks have. So then Brian was like see they have bathrooms. Someone opened a door and the wind blew the smell our way and it was a hundred times worse than the nastiest nursing home. A short while later I watched a mom and daughter open the doors to all four of them and then head out behind a tent.

I also knew from reading this was nothing but a tourist trap but I didn’t mind. There were native american’s selling hand made crafts. I wish I would have bought the one painting I just loved. If it was flat and would have fit in this one frame, I would have. You have to stand in line to take your picture standing on the four corners. There is a sign that says “limit three pictures per family”. Apparently, no one knows how to read anymore. One family took about twenty while we stood in the blazing sun in 100 degree weather just so mama mole could say she saw it and have our picture taken. I stood in New Mexico because of Shiprock New Mexico. When Brian saw the sign for it, he said “Shelprock New Mexico, home of the Big Red.”

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The rest of the trip was spent driving. We made it into Texas before calling it a night. There was a really bad thunderstorm and Micheal was getting nervous about a tornado. Emily texted me and asked if we would have one. I said no and she relayed it to Micheal and he said very quietly “Schleprock”.

 

Mole Moral ~ Embrace your nickname if you have one. It makes life so much more fun.

 

 

 

 

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Vacation Adventures Part Two

The next morning we got up and were headed towards Salvation Mountain. We were taking the southern route back home since Emily and I took the northern route two years ago when she moved to California.

We were driving along in the desert for miles. Emily and I were in one car and Micheal and Brian in the other. They were ahead of us by about thirty minutes because we stopped to eat at In and Out burger.

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We had come upon the Salton Sea and I was reading up on it and sharing with Emily. It was created by irrigation canals from the Colorado river in the early nineteen hundreds. It was a recreational area in the fifties and then due to pollution and increasing saltiness it started dying off. It is now almost a wasteland and smells from the amount of dead fish that wash up to the shore. It was very interesting, and Emily had just texted Micheal that she was getting nervous about the desert when this happened.

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We were driving along when we heard banging in the wheel well. We were like what was that? I said to Emily, you have a tire pressure light so if it doesn’t come on you know we are good. The words were barely out of my mouth when the tire pressure light came on. Luckily we were at a place in the road that had a huge place to pull off. It would be easy to change the tire. And then I had to make the fatal phone call to Brian to tell him we had a flat. Micheal swears he has no idea what Brian said after he hung up with me. I am sure it involved cursing. They had just gone through border patrol (we were super close to the real border) so coming back they were asked what they were doing. It was at this point I jumped out of the car and said I’m going to check out the Salton Sea. It looked super close. Please keep in mind I have never seen The Hills Have Eyes but the other three had. So Emilys anxiety is through the roof. She is texting me every two minutes to make sure I was ok. It was 107 degrees this day and I barely even sweated walking the one mile round trip. I didn’t get super close because it started smelling like mud and death.

 

By the time I walked back Brian and Micheal arrived and were changing the tire. It was around five in the evening so we had to attempt to find a tire place that was open. The first place I called did not have the tire and then the fun began. I could not keep straight what two towns we were between and Emily was ready to shoot me. I finally called AAA to see if they could locate a place when Emily found one. Of course it was thirty minutes back the way we had just came but they said they would stay open past six as long as we weren’t too much later than that. We arrived at five minutes until six and there were at least three families there that were still being helped. By the time they finished looking at our tire, putting a plug in it for free, airing up the spare (it had lost a lot of air on the ride over), and putting it back on it was after seven. I made the decision to stay where we were and go eat and have a couple of drinks and turn in early. We went to a restaurant that had just opened and their service and food were ok. However I had two gin and tonics and wasn’t feeling anything. The next day would be another adventure.

Mole Moral ~ Smart people do not watch scary movies!

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Vacation Adventures Part One

I am not sure why I ever attempt vacation because it rarely is a vacation but more of an adventure in the most crazy stuff that can happen.

This vacation started with Brian and flying into SanFrancisco. Emily was in New York at pelvic floor physical therapy course. The plan was for Brian and I to arrive around noon and she and Michael would fly in around eight thirty that evening. We would get up in the morning and drive up to Chico to meet Michael’s parents. Emily had the entire trip cross country back home planned out well. This was probably the first mistake.

Brian and I landed in SanFrancisco on time and then hopped onto the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) to head down to the wharf. We both just love not knowing where we are going and how things work but we managed to survive. Now I had arranged luggage storage the day before so imagine my surprise when the GPS took us here.

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Brian was convinced that I had lost my mind but the girl insisted yes, we were in the right place and took our luggage. We then had an awesome meal on the wharf and saw the sea otters and walked around quite a bit. We then had to take the BART back to a different stop and order an Uber. Well, of course at the location there was another transport system and we went there instead. Luckily a really nice worker said go to the other side. This little mishap took money off of our BART card so when we finally arrived at our station we had to add even more money. Oh and I forgot to mention we decided to jump on it right at rush hour. I have never seen so many people in my life.

By the time it was time to summons the Uber I had less than ten percent battery life. I was convinced my phone was going to die. Emily had been texting us and it was official they were not leaving New York as the weather was horrible. Not only that but they were put on a different flight out of Newark and were on their own to get over there. So three subway transfers, a ferry and an Uber and seventy bucks later they made it to their hotel in the pouring rain. I was reading this to our Uber driver and he was cracking up. We made it safely to our hotel and settled in for the night.

Emily’s flight did not leave until five the next evening so Brian and I had another free day in SanFrancisco. Our hotel was one mile from where Emily and Micheal had been staying so we walked over there to use her car for the day. We were not about to deal with the BART again. Of course someone had not finished packing up her car because she planned on doing it when she got home. Her father and I attempted it and made it all wrong but it fit in there. I then said lets drive over to Oakland and see what we can find to do. I then remembered my mother in law telling me about how you can take a ferry over and not pay for parking in SanFrancisco. This sounded like a wonderful idea and a lot of fun…

Of course we arrived and parked five minutes after the last ferry left for lunch break. So we then had almost an hour and a half to kill before the next one came. So we just goofed off and walked around. At least there were a couple Pokemon Go stops.

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We had a nice day in the bay and then we went and picked up Emily and Micheal at the airport and went and fetched Micheal’s car as well. We were now twenty-four hours behind schedule and had to forgo meeting Micheal’s parents. Emily wanted to drive to Los Angeles but Brian vetoed driving until three in the morning. This was only the beginning of our cross country adventures.

 

Mole Moral ~ One risks their life taking Schleprock (me) on vacation!

 

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Salvation Mountain

I wish I could remember how I heard about Salvation Mountain but I don’t have a clue. I told Emily not only were we taking the Southern route home from California but we were dipping down so I could see it.

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I read up on it yesterday as we were suppose to visit it then, but yesterday’s flat tire made our plans change. Anyway the guy who created it accepted Jesus into his heart in 1967 while in Vermont. He decided he wanted to build a hot air balloon and worked on it for 14 years never getting it to fly. He then decided to stay one more week to make a monument and weeks turned into months and months into years. He started by taking things from the dump and then fill it with sand, cover it with cement and then painted it. A lot of the time he used too much sand and not enough cement. Therefore, after four years and fifty foot high, it came crashing to the ground. He however was not discouraged and started over with more smarts.
The second time he used adobe clay and straw. He would then paint it. The more coats of paint, the stronger it became. This also prevented erosion. After ten years the mountain had gained notoriety but the area was owned by the federal government. They had issues with a religious monument at the entrance to slab city so hired environmental specialists to run tests and declared it a toxic wasteland. The locals did not agree and donated money and he hired his own and there was zero toxic chemicals nor lead in paint. So the government left him alone.
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He lived on the mountain until the age of 79 in his truck.
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He lived a simple life with no electricity, running water, technology etc. He used all donated paints on the mountain using the ugly colors for the bottom coats and the pretty ones for the top coats. He went to be with the Lord in 2014 at the age of 82.
Mole Moral ~ The location may have been shaky but it was awesome. Look carefully and you can see me at the top behind the O in GOD. Emily’s idea!!
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A true Disney rumor

I had always heard that at Disney you go to bed on October 31 and the parks are decorated for Halloween and when you wake up the next morning they are decorated for Christmas. Because I live in the show me state I wanted to see this for myself. It worked out well because Halloween was on a Wednesday when we visited. Our back stage tour was on Tuesday so one of the other couples asked our guide and she said yes it would happen. She said everything but the trees would be up on the first and the trees would be up on the second. I found this totally incredible considering the park was open until midnight on Halloween and probably closer to one before everyone got out of there and then opened again at nine am. We went to Magic Kingdom on the second and since pictures speak a thousand words I’m ending this with them.

 

Mole Moral ~ Seeing is believing!

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Creative Costuming

Part of my love for Disney is the costumes that they have. I was very excited to go behind the scenes to see where everything is made. Now the workers uniforms that work say in Space Mountain are made off site by another company. The others like Woody, Jasmine, all of the outfits on the dolls in It’s A Small World are made on site at Creative Costuming. Creative Costuming 3
The outfits hanging up as prototypes were fantastic. They even find stuff to look like leather to make costumes lighter weight. They couldn’t find the right fabric for the sash in this picture so they sewed the red and white material together to make the stripes. I can’t even imagine what a nightmare that was.

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They do a lot of embroidery work. However they have big machines to do it that are run by computers. Someone has to program them to do what they need.So at creative costuming not only were real people using real sewing machines but other real people were working on computer programs as well.Creative Costuming 1Emily said I needed to get a job there. I said heck no, my neck is on fire just thinking about being hunched over a sewing machine, sewing stuff together wrong and having to redo. DSCN9910
I was blown away by all of these thread colors. I cannot imagine having access to all of this at once. Go big or go home I suppose.

Mole Moral ~ My job at Disney would not be in this place, I better stick to being a nurse.

 

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Epcot and American Adventure

Every time I have visited Disney, I felt that Epcot was by far the lamest of all four parks. The rides are mostly educational and nothing at all in the thrill category. After the Backstage Magic Tour, I have a brand new appreciation for Epcot.
For starters Epcot and The World Showcase were suppose to be two separate parks. I believe it was a financial decision to make them one. The World Showcase was Walt Disney’s idea of how to show people not to be afraid of other cultures. In the original park design America was supposed to be between Canada and Mexico and a five-story building. However where the showcase joins Epcot is where America should have been so they had to move it across to the opposite side of the showcase. However a five-story colonial building would look like a huge eye sore between Japan and Italy. Here is a picture of it and it is indeed five stories.IMG_4839.jpgI will share the Disney Magic with you. First of all the first floor is underground. If you pay attention when you are walking towards the building, the ground goes uphill. More magic of how four floors look like three. It’s call forced perspective. From a distance and if you aren’t paying attention the doors on the outside look normal size. Now look at Emily standing next to the door. They are huge.IMG_4840On the inside it looks like there is a cathedral ceiling.IMG_4841However the ceiling is actually flat and it’s painted that way. Above this is the theater that presents a show about the history of America. There are no windows in the next level because it’s actually between the third and forth floor but the outside makes it look like the second floor.IMG_4842When we had our tour Epcot was not open but they were doing a test run on the show. The show has a movie in the background with animatronics that pop up. George Washington and Ben Franklin are the hosts. There was a cast member watching to make sure all the animatronics were working and all the clothes and things were in the right place. We then got to go back behind the screen and the stage and see how it all runs. It is still run by a computer from the 1980’s. Those huge ones that are as tall as people. It runs the scene changer which starts completely under the seats and moves back one scene at a time. The animatronics pop up in time with the movie. It is huge and yet you cannot feel or hear it moving when watching the show. Someone asked why they didn’t update the computer. If they updated computer they would have to update the scenes, the animatronics and on and on. It works just fine so there is no reason fixing something that is not broken.
If you ever wondered why Epcot had sponsors for the rides and things we learned the  answer. When they first built Epcot the way to save their money was to offer up cooperate sponsorships and get part of it paid that way. Why pay for something, if you can find someone else to do it.                                                                                                       We also learned that in the nighttime show Illuminations Reflection of Earth there are two people in the earth that floats across the water.  The earth eventually opens up into a flower with a torch in the center. Emily and I had to watch the show after hearing the back story. Somewhere there is a lead-lined sitting area that two people are in during the entire show. This is how they drive it across the lake. They do not come out until everything is cooled down and they get the ok. That alone would send me into a claustrophobic panic attack.

 

Our tour girl was totally into pyrotechnics so we learned a lot. No, Disney does not make their own fireworks but it is heavily regulated and they must have all sorts of permits. If it is raining they can get the entire firework show set up in two hours, otherwise they normally take their time. It was interesting during the day to watch the lake and see as the fireworks had been added. We even got to see where the flower is kept during the day.

Mole Moral ~ It only took five trips to Disney for me to appreciate Epcot which stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.