Saturday, October 30, 2010

Habitat at Red Mill

We spent most of the week working with the Habitat for Humanity crew at Red Mill.  We originally planned on working Tuesday and Thursday but decided to work on Wednesday also.  Joe the construction manager, has upped the work days in hopes of getting as much done as possible in the next few days.  He worked all last week, through the weekend and then Mon-Fri this week.  The dedication ceremonies for the King house are this weekend so the pressure is on.

He had an ambitious week planned and from what we could tell, good things were happening.  On Tuesday, quite a few of the red hats were out there which helped quite a bit.  The red hats are volunteers who have been working here quite a while and have enough expertise and experience to lead work teams.
Some folks were dispatched outside to dig post holes for the fence.  They poured a bag of concrete into each hole and made sure the posts were plum.

The landscape folks came and did their magic one morning and leveled the yards and around the house doing a very good job.
The concrete guys came and cleaned out the area for the driveways and made the forms for the adjacent sidewalks.  The concrete was poured Wednesday and looks great.

We spent most of our time last week working with sheet rock on the downstairs bedroom, an upstairs bedroom, a couple of closets and the stairway.  It was a lot of lifting and measuring and putting screws in.
Each day is different because you never know who will show up.  They worked on both weekend days which is unusual but they are trying to get the houses done as much as they can for the dedication today. These are my two friends Pedro and Trenton.

Some of that work was later disrupted when the plumbing guys came and connected water pipes from the house to the street, but when we drove by on our day off yesterday, we could see that the front yards were covered with new sod and some shrubs.

Thursday was interesting because a large group of Navy volunteers came out to help.  They were split up into half a dozen groups and off they went to help on sheet rock and the fences.
At lunch time, the navy chaplain's office brought over lunch which was a nice touch.

We also had to work around the plaster guys who were really turning our handiwork into something beautiful.  They made our mistakes go away and put the finishing touches on the ceiling and walls using a series of swirl design strokes.  It is fun to see a master at work.
At the end of the day on Thursday, the owner came over and looked at the progress.  I coaxed Pam, Dotty and Joe to pose for me.
Dotty King, her husband and five boys are due to move in, hopefully by Thanksgiving.  We are working hard to make it happen!

We are enjoying the Habitat work and spent most of the week at it.  Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Hope you have a great weekend.

What did one hot dog say to the other?  "Happy Halloweenie!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday and Meghan

Today we welcome new followers, long time full timers and fellow bloggers:
Ellie
Froggi (Donna)

Thanks for joining us!  You may also want to check out their blogs:  Justravelin and 2takinga5th
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Since I started highlighting Meghan and her legacy a couple of weeks ago I decided to go back and read another early blog from Meghan.  She was originially diagnosed in October 2008.  That was two years ago.  Her post on Nov 5 was entitled:  Hurry Up and Wait

I learn a number of things from this entry from Meghan.

1) She is determined to provide as much insight into what she is going through even though it is not all good news.

I think it is common to want to paint a positive uplifting and warm picture of things.  No one wants to read about sad, depressing or ugliness.  And she absolutely didn't want you to feel sorry for her.

At this point in her journey, she was thinking the doctors were going to do one more biopsy.  But wait, they found some curious stuff in her lymph nodes and they decided they needed to do two, not one.   I gather biopsies are painful.  Not fun.
So in this entry I think she wants to describe what she was feeling and how she really looked at the additional but necessary biopsies and needles.  With a bit of humor and at the same time, a little bit of dread comes through her writing. (..."tattoos hurt worse, tattoos hurt worse, tattoos...")

Lesson to me:  Honest feelings are important to communicate.  If a touch of dry or sarcastic humor comes through, so be it.

2) Meghan seems to be getting over her aversion to writing things for the whole world to see.
Though she is a private person, she is keeping it real and telling it like it is.
I think she is hoping this level of honesty would help someone later on as if may be facing a biopsy for breast cancer for the first time.  It is not a fun thing, it hurts, and there is a lot of scary thoughts ---how many more of this will there be?

Lesson to me:  Courage.  In the face of uncertainty you can get through more than you think you can.  And she does.

3) Meghan always liked to be busy and doing something.  She was a go getter.  And now she was thrown into a whole different life.  She was at the mercy of doctors and technicians and the Process.  Tests and results take time.  And her life as she knew it was suspended.  Answers (even partial ones) take time.
In the middle of the Process she knew she wasn't getting as much information as she wanted so she looked things up on her own.  She found out what a mastectomy entailed and learned about that.  She didn't rely on only what the doctor told her.  She researched things and knew a lot more about her future possibilities.  It was scary ready about the good, bad and the ugly.

Lesson to me:  Patience and diligence.  She tried to be patient with the process and did something about it when patience brought no knew information.  She found a way to get some answers but at the same time learned of the harsh realities of where this could heading.  (another lesson on courage and bravery).

It has been six months since breast cancer claimed her.  But she lives on and our hope is that somehow, in some way her story of courage, determination, humor, honesty, bravery and love will be of help to some others.  So pass it on...

She deeply affected a lot of people and her live continues to inspire.  Next time, a little bit on love...ForTheLoveOfMeghan.

So if you have a loved one, or know of one who might find her writings useful or of interest, please send them to the beginning of The Bees Knees.

That wraps another Monday edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us.  And have a great week.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sometimes You Just Don't Know What to Say

It was about a week ago I read with shock and sadness about Bruce and Margie.  They went for a walk, got hit by a motorist and were killed instantly.  I have been thinking about what I could say to acknowledge the loss of them.  I like many of you did not know them personally, but I felt somewhat connected because we would leave comments on each others blogs.

That's how it starts for many of us bloggers.  You 'connect', develop a bit a dialogue and then sometime down the road you look for the opportunity to actual meet you new friend(s) face to face.  We have done that many times and had the same experience when others have taken the time to say hi and introduce themselves.

But we won't get to do that with Bruce and Margie.  If you haven't read of about their passing a week ago, you can find out more about it at Rick's blog, or Mark and Dortha's, or Jo's or Gerri and Mike's or Donna's or Al's.  There are probably hundreds and hundreds of similar tributes and accounts.

Now I add mine.  I also want to express our condolences to their family and let them know that we too are deeply saddened, confused about your horrible loss.  Our heart goes out to you and we really don't now what else to say.  They touched us and we enjoyed them as they blogged about their everyday life as full-timers.  

And we remember them and their family today....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Painting and Nailing

We are enjoying the good weather here in Virginia Beach.  We are also enjoying being able to get some exercise this past week.

We started at Kelly's house where her front porch needed some attention.  As in needing a good coat of paint or two.  So we finished up what we started last week.  We began by cleaning the porch, ceiling and rails with the high pressure power washer, then scraping, then applying two and three coats of paint.

Sometime last week I looked up the local Habitat for Humanity organization and found the South Hampton Roads HFH.   This group does work all around the area:  Hampton Roads, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Norfolk and some other places.  I made a call and left a message with Sharon who called me back and told me there was a build going on at two houses, side by side in the Red Mill area here in Virginia Beach.

They are about 10 minutes from our campground so it couldn't be any more convenient.  We showed up on Wednesday and went back again yesterday.  They are a well run group and some friendly people.  On Wednesday, Pam and I were upstairs in the King family house and did sheet rock work all day.

Needless to say, I was pretty sore on Thursday.  Curiously, I did not take a single photo of our handiwork.  But we had plenty of photos from our work on the roof at the house next door yesterday.
Yesterday, I spent the whole day on the roof with Joe, the construction manager.  

The team is pushing hard for a house dedication on October 30.  They will have work crews of volunteers everyday except Monday.   We are planning to be back at it on Tuesday.

We were bushed after we got back from work yesterday.  Pam took a shower while I took a quick nap before dinner.  After dinner, we walked to the beach and enjoyed the beautiful moonlight reflections.
And the trees through the sunset in the opposite direction
When we got back, I took a shower and we watched the American League Championship series.  Congrats to the Texas Rangers who played another great game.

Hope you all have a great weekend and thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Morgan 34

I had no idea what a Morgan 34 was until we went sailing with Kelly's friend, Cameron, on Sunday.  He lives on his 34' boat (a Morgan sailboat) and loves to take people out in it.  I am not much of a boat lover ~ I have not relly had the opportunity to be around the water much.

But we had a terrific afternoon and the weather was great.  And we got to meet some more of Cameron's friends: Aletheia, Christine, Angela, Clint, Pam, Kelly and me (along with the skipper Cameron).  It was a fun afternoon.
Cameron gave us a safety briefing which included what channel his radio was on and where the life jackets were.  Pam Kelly and I found a spot up on the bow and spent most of the afternoon there.  We went by some very large naval ships in the harbor after leaving the marina.
We also passed the cruise ship Carnival Glory.  We could see people loading up for the cruise when we left the harbor, then it was making its way out toward the Chesapeake Bay when we returned just before sunset.
We left the marina in Norfolk, went up the Elisabeth River, past the Navy shipyards and the USS Wisconsin, on past Craney Island Navy Depot and out not far from the entrance into the Cheasapeake Bay.  Then we returned the same way.  It was a breezy but peaceful day (except for the wake left by a couple of big boats that passed us) and a great one for sailing!

It was a new experience and gave me a bit of appreciation for those people that love to sail.  I can see why it is so enjoyable.  We had a great time!
Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Have a wonderful week!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Running for Meghan

Once again we welcome our newest Follower:
Ellen
Thanks for joining the Roadrunner Chronicles!
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This weekend was full of emotions.  We were looking forward to the Tidewater Run for the Cure (which included the Virginia Beach area.)  It was our first ever participation in a charity event dedicated to eradicating breast cancer.

We arrived early at downtown Virginia Beach and waited our turn to pull into the parking garage along with thousands of other runners and supporters.  The race began at 8:30 AM but we were there about 7:00 AM.  In some ways, I knew what to expect.  I have participated in a lot of races 'back in the day' and it was fun to be around the excitement.  
Many people had were part of teams of eight or ten runners and some had colorful T-shirts, or hats or other identifying garb.  In some ways the atmosphere was festive, as we celebrated the lives of our loved ones and friends whom we were thinking about.
Our ForTheLoveOfMeghan Team had eight people on it and we gathered at Starbucks.  The morning was cool and chilly with a pretty good wind.  But the day was bright and sunny.  There were lots of tents and booths and vendors around the city center - Neptune Park - and along the boardwalk where the race started and ended.

The crowds numbered in the thousands and it was very crowded.  We could hear the national anthem being played to start things off.  After that, we meandered around for a while before we all tried to line up for the run.

It was jam packed and took almost six minutes to get to the Starting Line.  We started out running slowly for about 10 yards, then came to a complete stop as there were hundreds of walkers moving out ahead of us.  We made our way over to the sidewalk and weaved in and out of folks until about a quarter of a mile down the road before we were finally on our way.  

I got to run with Kelly.  She decided she was going to run with me and I loved it.  We saw many people who had notes on their shirts proclaiming who they were rememembering or who they were running for.
In addition to running for Meghan, I also ran for Barbara Brown and wrote here name on my back.  She is in week two of chemo for breast cancer and lives in Buffalo, New York.  We met Jon and Barbara Brown in the 1980's when we all were stationed in Hawaii and attended the same church.  

During the run, I experienced a lot of different emotions.  Running is an emotional thing for me anyway. I am greatful to be able to run because I enjoy it so much.  But over the years I have had ankle, calf, tendon, etc etc issues and so I consider it a gift to be able to run at my age of 57.  I thought of Meghan and I thought of the thousands of people there - and all over - who are impacted by cancer.  When you see faces and names of people who have died it is pretty startling.  It is such an insidious disease.

Kelly and I ran for 5 minutes and then walked 1; ran 5 and walked 1; ....5 and 1 etc and we had no trouble making it to the end of the 5K.  

We saw some very sad things as people named who they were running for.  One lady wrote:  "I am running for me - stage IV cancer".  Stuff like that is sad.  Running for Meghan is sad.  We all miss her so much.  But the more I think about it I know she would not like us to mope and feel sorry for ourselves.  We know she is in a better place and she'd want us to run, enjoy life and make a difference.

It was so great to have her parents, Marg and Bill here with us for the run.  They stayed with Kelly at her house and delayed their return to Canada a day so they could be there for the run.  It was really great to see them again and to spend time with them during the week.
I have lost count as to how many people have run for Meghan or have created ForTheLoveOfMeghan teams in her honor and memory.  But I know there have been at least 10 around the country and in Canada.  Our run was on Saturday, but on Sunday, niece Heidi ran a half-marathon (13.1 miles) for Meghan in Denver, Colorado.  Way to go Heidi!

One of the hard things is not having Adam here to be with us.  I know he would have loved to be part of it all.  But he is called to be where he is in India, volunteering in Meghan's memory.  It is one of Meghan's goals that he has dedicated himself to fulfilling.  This weekend was really hard for him too.  Talk about being alone...  
But I know he will make it and work through it.  He amazes us and we are very proud of him.  

Glady, he called from India about 10 minutes before the race was started and Pam was able to talk with him a few minutes before the phone connection got so bad it dropped off.  Still - it was good to talk and he knew we were thinking of him and Meghan and to hear his voice.

The event raised lots of money I am sure and our team raised over $500 (thank you Brad, Jane, and Diane and all the others.)  There will be other opportunities to give and I will spend a blog highlighting Meghan's favorite cancer charity - the Kelly Shires Foundation - at another time.

So the race went great. It was a beautiful day.  It was fun.  Our team did well.  We got to be part of the Breast Cancer Awareness movement.  We got to spend the day with Bill Marg.  And we remembered Meghan.  And Adam.  And Barbara.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Please stop by again!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fun with Marg and Bill

First, a big welcome to our newest Followers:
Bouf
PJ and Melissa
Thanks for joining the Roadrunner Chronicles!
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It has been a great week with the Bakers!  They drove 750+ miles from Petrolia, Canada to Norfolk to be with us.  They left on Monday afternoon and arrived on Tuesday about 3:00 PM.  Marg and Bill are participating with us today on the ForTheLoveOfMeghan team run/walk at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Virginia Beach.

We took it easy on Tuesday and sat outside of Kelly's place where they are staying.  It was an 80 degree day and it was perfect for a walk on the beach.
 Later, we extended the evening with some time in Kelly's front yard and hanging out at her house.
 On Wednesday, Bill and I played golf while Pam and Marg went shopping.
After golf we went down to the Virginia Beach boardwalk, got some ice cream and met a nice couple from Ohio
and walked on the beach for a while.

After Kelly came home from work, we went out to eat in Virginia Beach.
On Thursday it was supposed to rain a lot, so we made the 3 hour trip up to Washington DC to show Bill and Marg around.  We spent a couple of hours at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum out near Dulles Airpot.
Next we drove by our old neighborhood in Fairfax and then had a late lunch at 5 Guys in Fairfax Town Center.
Then we drove downtown to Washington and gave them a windshield tour of the city.  They had never been here before so it was fun to show then the major attractions and go by some monuments.  Meghan had been to Washington DC a few times with Adam in the last couple of years.

On Friday, Bill and I squeezed in 18 holes at Oceana Naval Air Station.  They have a couple of nice courses.  We were the first ones off the Tomcat course and it was fun.
Too bad we didn't score better, but ... that is golf.  Somedays the best thing about the round is just being out there.

After golf, we went back to Kelly's place and then met Ryan there who took us over to his squadron at Naval Air Station Norfolk.  He flies the MH-60S Seahawk helicopters and we got a tour of the squadron and a close up view of the aircraft.
Their unit is assigned to the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) which is the last of the Nimitz Class supercarriers to be built.

After our tour, we went out to the Roadrunner and cooked some steaks on the grill.  We are in the flight pattern of F-18's as they were landing so it was loud at the campground.  But pretty cool to be near flight operations again...

It has been a great time with Marg and Bill.  Later this morning we are going to participate in the run.  Not sure how that is going to be.  One short year ago, Meghan ran the race for the cure...
Today we run in her memory and for our friend Barbara

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday with Meghan

Our daughter-in-law, Meghan Baker, left us on April 27 of this year, over 5 months ago.  There is much to learn and remember about her.  She was quite a woman. She was full of love and laughter and fight and she was real.  She faced the horrible truth the best way she knew how~ by being as honest as she could about it.
Adam and Meghan in July 2008

I liked lots of things about Meghan.  For one thing she didn't want you to feel sorry for her.  She didn't dwell on her illness with a depressing 'woe is me' attitude.  She acted as if, "this is the hand I was dealt~ let's deal with it and do what it takes to get better".

You may have followed her while she was writing her blog, The Bees Knees.  If you haven't already done so,  you may want to meet her and get a sense of who she was and how see handled it all.   It was two years ago that she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She and Adam were in Korea teaching English to Korean school kids. Adam suggested she write a blog.

Her first reaction to that idea was, "No bloody way".  She was very private person.  But then the idea of it somehow helping others was enough to convince her to write it for her family, friends and complete strangers.  

We all were able to get a sense of what it was like.  If you read the first post after her diagnosis you can get an idea of how she handled the shock of hearing the 'C' word....She had a way of describing it so you can imagine what it was like with her.

Maybe you know someone who has cancer and is having a difficult time with it and having any of it make sense.  Maybe reading Meghan's blog will help.  Many of us were inspired by her and I hope you find some help for you or your friends.  That is why Meghan wrote her blog.  I hope you take a look.

One of the things that has happened is that a 'ForTheLoveOfMeghan' group has grown on Facebook.  Out of that, a number of people have created "ForTheLoveOfMeghan" teams to run in various Susan G. Komen or Canada CBC runs across the States and Canada.  One is running in Virginia Beach this weekend.  Kelly, Pam and I are going to be joined by Bill and Marg Baker (her parents from Petrolia, Canada)
To go to this page, click here:

We will also be running for Barbara Brown, a good friend with three kids and husband Jon.  We saw them earlier this summer while we were in Niagara Falls.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in the summer and had her first chemo session last week.
This is Barb back in July when Pam presented her with a set of boxing gloves and told her to "Fight like a Girl!".  She will and we are expect a good outcome.


Thanks for joining me on the Roadrunner Chronicles and for the first edition of "Mondays with Meghan".

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Arrived at Virginia Beach

Thursday night at the NOMADS Annual Meeting, the theme was the 50's and a few folks got dressed up.  It was really kind of fun to see.  We had a catered dinner so after that was done, I wandered around and took a few photos.
 It seemed as if everyone was enjoying themselves.  We managed a few goodbyes and went back to the Roadrunner.

We had an early departure on Friday (7:00 AM ish) and were packing up in the dark.  We waiting until the sun came up before we pulled out and hooked up the car.  The Blue Ox Patriot braking system is working great.  They sent a new one to replace the one got in May and no problems.

However--we were on the road for about an 40 minutes and the Pressure Pro Monitoring System indicated the passenger front tire was at 51 lbs!  Yikes - they should be around 34 or 35!  I pulled over on I-40 down the road from Marion.  I took off the sensors on the tires and put them back on and everything checked out normal.

We drove for about 8 hours and got to Virginia Beach before 4:00 PM.  It was bright and sunny and we made it over to Dam Neck Annex, Oceana Naval Air Station, Virginia Beach.  It has about 20 sites and they are pretty large.  It is costing us $17.50 a night at the Sea Mist RV Campground which is about 20 yards from the ocean front beach.
It is nice! The best thing is that is had been 78 - 80 degrees the last couple of days!

I had to get up early yesterday and watch the sun come up.  We are positioned perfectly at the campground to get the sun coming up over the water.
Hope you are having a good weekend and thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Please check back for the next edition and leave a comment or become a Follower ~ we appreciate it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

More of the NOMADS Annual Meeting

First, I'd like to welcome our latest Followers (and fellow NOMADS):
Phyllis and Leonard
Thanks for joining us and great to meet you guys!
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There are a lot of things to do here at the NOMADS annual meeting.  On Monday we signed up for the tour of the Biltmore House in Asheville.
 What a magnificent estate.  It is hard to imagine the kind of money it took to create this home and grounds.  We took a self guided tour through the basement and library and some the 250 rooms that were open to the public.  It was really interesting to see what they had in the early 1900s.  Indoor plumbing, electricity, an indoor swimming pool and a bowling alley were among some of the things we saw.

Later on Tuesday at lunchtime, we had a Full-Timers meeting in the Tom Johnson RV center maintenance building.  There was a good turnout let by NOMADS board member Carol Stoner.
She talked about the NOMADS Birds-Of-A-Feather (BOF) group in the Escapees group which everyone can join and help get the NOMADS word out.  Also, the couple that are hosting the 2011 NOMADS Annual Meeting  gave some information about next year's meeting in Forest City, Iowa.
Every morning at 7:30 Gene has a 30-45 minute Bible Study that is well attended.  He is always well prepared and has a great set of notes and outline to follow which I appreciate with the speakers.

A real fun thing was the auction.  Every year they have a silent auction and then a real live action.  It is amazing to watch people bid.  This is a little different though ~ here people are not trying to get something for the absolute lowest price.  Here there is a very heavy dose of giving mixed in with the activities.  $2 bills went for over $100 (can't remember exactly, maybe it was more).
They bid on everything from wood carvings to dulcimers.  Total raised:  almost $34,000!  This is from among 280 people who attended the meeting.  It was amazing.  These monies are used to help the "agencies" where we volunteer.  Sometimes a church or a campground can't afford to buy materials for us to fix up the place so NOMADS buys the materials.

And there were a number of seminars.  Here is a rep from Tom Johnson's RV Center
And another seminar on diesel vs gas engines,
And another one on electricity and how to wire switches in a house
They were pretty well attended and it was nice of the guys who took the time and effort to try to teach us something.

We had a board meeting everyday where we heard reports of committees and found out who got elected to the board this year and who is leaving.  We have a very hard working group of men and women who do a lot of things behind the scenes.
The latest big deal is the new website and how it is being used for a number of activities.  We have added two or three new members since we have been here at the meeting because of the website.  It used to take weeks to get everything submitted and approved, now it takes only hours online.

And we had a potluck dinner on Wednesday night which we throughly enjoyed.  It was another way to meet some of the folks here.
The food and fellowship were great and we are glad we were able to come this year.

After dinner we got to hear the music of Tom Page and Mary Lou Troutman, otherwise known as 'Dust and Ashes'.  They travel and sing and were excellent.
We collected over $1100 at the love offering for them.  These NOMADS are a very generous group.
It has been a very good week.

And we hope you are having a very good week.  Please leave a comment and stay in touch with the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Thanks for viewing today!