Thursday, July 28, 2011

Home Is Where The Heart Is

As many of you know, we just returned from a whirlwind trip to southern California. It was very nice and also very strange at the same time. I guess maybe it's always that way when you go away from home.

First off, I would like to say that we love the San Diego area very much. It is the part of CA I have spent the most amount of time in. John has spent more time in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area as he lived in Ojai when he first got out of the Air Force. He is a bigger fan of the SD area though. :) We also liked San Francisco very much the one time we were there. The weather is wonderful at this time of year. So nice and cool. We actually brought our jackets with for the evening but we decided not to wear them because we were enjoying being a little chilly for a change. Sean was actually complaining that he was cold the whole time but then the first words out of his mouth at the rest area by El Centro were, "I wish we could go back to the cool in San Diego." LOL

I personally find the Sulphur Springs Valley to be the most beautiful place on the face of the earth. It is where I grew up. It is where my parents' ashes are scattered. In short, it is home and is beautiful to me. After that I believe I would have to say the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego is pretty hard to beat. The ocean in general is beautiful to me. My father loved the ocean and I was raised to hold its beauty in my heart and also to respect its strength. Sorry, Sean, for scolding you about not having proper reverence for it but it does NOT look like a giant bath in any way, shape or form and it is NOT only interesting when you can see ships. There is something about staring out into the ocean that makes one realize just how minute we are in the grand scheme of things. It boggles my mind to think that the same Creator who came up with the beauty of the Pacific Ocean also came up with the beauty of the Arizona deserts. So completely different and yet both so spectacularly beautiful, particularly at sunset.

I do have a couple of questions about California driving though, the first being: Who is the yutz who settled on 70 MPH for the speed limit? It is virtually impossible to hold a car at that speed. Cars, at least every car I have ever owned, prefer speeds that end in a 5. Of course, once you get further into California this becomes a moot point as it's not often that you get to bring the car up to full speed and the traffic between San Diego and Los Angeles comes to periodic standstills, which brings me to my next question.

What is the reason for the traffic coming to a standstill? Here in Arizona traffic comes to a standstill for three things: 1. An accident involving serious injury or death, 2. A severe dust storm which brings visibility to zero, or 3. A truck whose load has shifted and dumped into the road rendering passage impossible. Outside of these three occurrences we keep it moving. EVERY time the traffic slowed to a stop when we were out there we watched when it started moving again and it was either somebody with a flat tire, a small--and I mean SMALL--fender-bender, CHP had somebody pulled over on the side of the road or NOTHING. With all due respect, folks, glance sideways, say, "Well, they're having a bad day today. Thank you, God it isn't us," say a small prayer for those involved and KEEP MOVING.

We also noticed that if one gets hungry on the freeway in CA it is quite possible to die of starvation when there are plenty of places to eat. Here in AZ if you are hungry you can watch the blue signs on the side of the road as you get close to the exits and they will announce not only that there is food, fuel and lodging at the exit but what restaurants, gas stations and hotels/motels are there. In CA it's best guess. There is no indicator and then as you're passing the exit you say, "Oh, gee, look! There was McD's, BK, and Jack." They're losing a lot of revenue. Your state is losing revenue as well. The companies pay the state to have their name/logo on the blue signs, folks. Great source of revenue for the state.

We also noticed that CA doesn't seem to have the infamous photo enforcement cameras. That is very nice. However, they would be a GREAT source of revenue for your financially-strapped state considering the lack of regard for traffic laws we witnessed during our short stay. Where we're from the lines in the road indicate the divisions where the cars are supposed to remain. When making a left turn at an intersection it is generally accepted world-wide that one goes in FRONT of the cars stopped at the light in the other direction. I have never in my life in AZ seen anyone go BEHIND a car waiting at the light and then go into their lane. I saw this on more than one occasion and on one occasion we were the car they were going behind. A little nerve-wracking to say the least. Also, as a general rule our motorcyclists don't lane-split. At one point on the interstate there were about 15 motorcycles in a line driving between our lane and the next lane. That's pretty dangerous, folks. I realize it's handy to be able to do it, however living is nice too.

It was nice to have our little sojourn in California, even though the reason for going was not a happy one. On the other hand, it is wonderful to be home even though it means back to dryness and triple-digit heat. No matter how wonderful the place you go on vacation is, you just can't beat HOME. After all, home is where the heart is.

I hope all is going well in everybody else's corner of the world.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Amazing Knock On The Door

Life in our corner of the world can be interesting at times, to say the least. This morning shortly after 9am somebody knocked on our door. We were sleeping because it was a late night last night. So needless to say we were startled. John looked out the peephole and didn't recognize the man standing there. He opened the door and asked if he could help him. The following conversation ensued:

"Is your name John Mack?"


"Is your wife named Wilma and you have a son named Sean?"

"Yes." John was getting extremely confused because he had never laid eyes on this man before but he seemed to know all about us.

Now the man was extremely excited. "Oh, praise the Lord! I've been looking for you for so long and today was the last day I had to find you."

"Why were you looking for me?" John asked. By this time Sean and I were hovering in the doorway behind John listening to what was going on.

"I bought the stuff out of your storage locker when it was auctioned off. I opened the boxes and found all of your photo albums and loose photos. My brother said to just throw them away but I couldn't. You had all the baby pictures of your son and all the old pictures of your families back into the 1800's. Your marriage license is in there and your military commendations too--by the way, thank you for your service to our country. I just HAD to find you. I've called all the Macks and Sargents in Tucson and nobody knew you. I've been calling out of state to FL, IL and PA because I saw those states on letters in there. Finally I found this address on the internet last night in the internet white pages. I had to come here today because we're being evicted from our house and we have to be out by tomorrow night. I just wanted to try one last time to get your pictures back to you. Not all of them made it but there is a giant box." 

So, long story short, around noon we went out to Littletown and picked up our photos that we had thought were lost forever. We spent the evening going through them and seeing what had survived and what was gone. John went to the store and got a giant bin and they are currently residing in it in the middle of the living room floor. We haven't really looked at all of it but just kind of sorted his family stuff from my family stuff and then another stack of our family stuff. It's sort of jumbled in the bin though but that's okay. I left out a stack of stuff that I am planning on scanning and uploading to Facebook within the next few days. So you can all look forward to some more old family stuff and some of friends from when I was growing up. For those of you who love to laugh at the old 70s and 80s styles, there are some pretty good ones in there for that. Mostly with the glasses more than the clothes, although some of the clothes are a little outlandish. *grin*

I still can't believe that this happened. We had resigned ourselves to losing them. It was just one more thing that was lost and gone in a long line of stuff that has come and gone over the years. This was heartbreaking though because it was our history. We just didn't have the wherewithal at the time to save them. Apparently the Lord guided this wonderful man named Steven to buy that particular lot. We asked him why he was so bent on finding us and returning our pictures and he couldn't explain it. He said it was just something that he felt he had to do even though everybody was telling him he was nuts.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm Still Here---Really, I Am!

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I'm really still here. Just nothing of note going on really.

Here's a quick run-down of what's been happening:
  • Angry Birds Knock On Wood board game came out. Sean has been beating me daily. We've been having lots of fun building the structures. I think the building is almost more of an attraction than the shooting of the birds.
  • The guys went to the new Transformers movie. Sean said it was good but he does sort of agree with Dad that it was basically a 157-minute toy commercial. LOL
  • The summer heat and Sean are not good friends so Mom has been cleaning up much bodily fluid related to getting over-heated, not to mention doctoring many heat and/or allergy-induced headaches.
  • Took Sean off Claritin as it seems to turn him into a monster. Not the first day though. It takes about 48-72 hours for it to kick in and then it's Katie-bar-the-door. Worse than having him on caffeine day-in and day-out. :(
  • Monsoon season has kicked in and we've been getting rain all week at around 4:30pm. Today it hasn't hit yet though and it's after 6pm. Monday when it hit we also had rain INSIDE the house as the roof leaked like a sieve all around the edges. Even had to move Sean's bed out and it's never leaked in his room before. Scott tarred on Tuesday and there was no inside rain last night but the lights went out twice.
That's about all that's been happening other than some crazy stuff at John's work that I shouldn't share publicly. So see, not really much to write about. Just wanted to check in and say hello though.

Hope things are going well in everybody else's corner of the world.