Those 70ish girls…Next stop..The Turkey Creek RV Resort in Ben Wheeler, TX.

We are officially homeless. We closed on the sale of our house yesterday. When we finally got back to the RV, Kip said, “We can never go back there, again!” He said it like it’s a bad thing.

We are free! Free to travel unencumbered by yards, mortgages, garbage pick-up days…a major stressor. “We forgot to put out the garbage! Now it will sit there for another week!”

We have made a few tentative plans, but we can’t go anywhere until our new RV furniture gets here in mid-February or early March. In the meantime, we had to tie down a kitchen chair to drive to the RV park.

As always, our sweet pups seem to thrive in spite of all the chaos. It’s all they have ever known.

I will post pics when we get completely settled into our new full-time home, that being the RV we bought last year. I think we will be happy travelers for a few years before we contemplate the next stop on this our journey of life.

Ben Wheeler pop. 1000, is a cute little place with a great downtown square. The Forge is a great place to eat and there is a delightful little wine tasting/boutique that I plan to check out as soon as this bad weather leaves us. It’s been down into the 20’s with freezing rain.

Yup! We’re going to be just fine…as soon as we can find a place for all the stuff in the Uhaul…

The sunset…last night in the house we sold to become full-time RVers

Those 70ish Girls…Wyoming!

I was so excited to be off on my long-awaited trip to see my son, Mason and his beautiful family. It’s a 1 & 1/2 hr flight from Dallas to Denver, a 1 & 1/2 hr, layover, and another 1& 1/2 hr flight to Gillette, where they live.

The flight didn’t exactly go as planned. We boarded the plane in Denver and then after taxiing down the runway, the plane suddenly stopped. The pilot said the GPS wasn’t working. I was in a hurry. Why couldn’t they just fly low and follow Interstate 25…easy, peasy.

GPS was not working well for United Airlines that day. I was slightly nervous when they told us that, but not as nervous as the guy sitting next to me. He flies several times a month, and he had never heard of an airplane’s GPS going down. Those words just don’t sound right in the context of an airplane ride, do they? I secretly wondered if they could use maps on their Iphone, but then I realized we all have to shut our phones off. I think it’s so they don’t mess with the airplane’s GPS.

Landing in Denver

We taxied back, deplaned, and walked to another gate to wait for a different plane to be readied. We were delayed (you guessed it, 1 1/2 hrs.). My son was trying to watch his son, Ethan, a freshman at Campbell County High School, play basketball. My delayed flight didn’t fit into my plan, either. Ethan scored 13 points, and the score was 13 to 13 at the end of the first quarter. Mason and I both missed it. Timing is everything. We made it to the gym for the 2nd half of the first game and all of the 2nd game. Eth plays for his freshman team and the JV1 and JV teams, but he can only play 6 quarters a day. The right team won all 3 games.

Eth is #22

Anyway, I made it to my destination, and I had the absolute best time. Mason’s wife, Amy, is a wonderful person. She is a nurse and manages 3 offices for a group of orthopedic doctors, She and Mason have two great kids, Mason Jr. is 20 and is taking classes at Gillette College in anticipation of returning to UW next fall. He also does trim work for his dad. Ethan is 15. Amy’s mom, Linda, divides her time between Gillette and Florida. She has a place on Keyhole Lake, near Gillette, where she spends the spring and summers and then stays with Amy and Mason, when she closes the house down in the fall. She goes to Florida after New Years to spend time with her sister. I love hanging out with Linda, and we each even have our own mother-in-law’s quarters.

I came in last in Texas holdem, and monopoly, but I cleaned up on scrabble.

While I was there, I made my special chicken enchiladas, which, for some reason, didn’t taste very good. I redeemed myself with homemade banana pudding. Mason Jr. got an airfryer and mastered the art of cooking salmon. It was delicious. Everything Linda cooked was amazing. Let’s just say I ate my way through Wyoming and came back 5 lbs heavier. Ask me if I care. Well, I do now, but it was fun while it lasted.

Last Wednesday, I went to Buffalo with Mason where the company he works for is building 10 houses and they have lots ready to go for another 18. Buffalo, Wyoming is booming. Mason manages the project and is boucou busy. They don’t sell the houses until they’re finished so he gets to pick out all of the countertops, cabinets, paint, and floor coverings. I got to go with him to buy all of the light fixtures for 2 houses.

I have so much to tell you about regarding the sale of our house, but I will save that interesting story for another day. Hint: I had to trace 3 people down to get a deed signed that should have been signed 23 years ago. Do you think that was easy? The couple, who are 84 and 85, never deeded it to their son, or at least the deed was never recorded. He sold the lot to someone else, who sold it to us. I was wracked with nerves. I would love to tell you that Kip handled it worse than I did, but I would be lying. The son finally came through for us. Sheesh!!! Now, we are waiting for the appraisal. Stay tuned.

On the way to Buffalo!

Amy is sending more family pics. Most of them are on her phone.

Those 70ish girls…What was the question?

I was standing in the check-out line at the Woolco Store, right down the street from where we lived in Casper, Wyoming, when I felt a tug on my jacket. I looked down at this really cute little boy who obviously was troubled by something.

“What is it, honey? Is something wrong?”

He looked down at his feet. I thought he had become shy and was reconsidering telling me what was bothering him, when he looked up and said, “How old do you have to be before you know what’s going on?”

“Why would you ask?” I stammered. “What do you think is going on?”

“Never mind,” he said. “I have to go to the bathroom.”

I know I didn’t give him a very good answer, but that was back before people deeply analyzed the thoughts of children. I’ve thought about it many times since, and to be honest, if a child asked me that same question today, I would still be stuck for an answer.

The little boy was mine. I had to give up my place in line to take him to the bathroom. I was a caring mother, but I never looked too deep into my kid’s psyche. In all fairness, I was only twenty years old when I had him, and I realized early on that I could easily be outsmarted by children of almost any age.

The other problem was I had a guilty conscience and really hoped he hadn’t caught on to what I was doing. I was at Woolco to buy a birthday card. I already had the gift. It was a nice, pinkish colored, bottle of Ambush. I can’t remember if it was cologne or perfume or even who gave it to me. I just hoped it wasn’t the girl from work whose birthday gift I had forgotten to buy. Back then we didn’t have an acceptable name for what I was doing… like re-gifting. My little boy tugging at my coat would have called it, lying.

I was really late, and I was taking the smart little thing, who was wondering how old you have to be before you know what’s going on, to the party with me. Time for a foxhole prayer. Please don’t let him rat me out. How embarrassing would that be.

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Fortunately, he had gone on to other things his little mind questioned like, “Mommy, why is the goldfish so much smaller today than it was yesterday?”

“Remember? He was sick. He must have lost weight.” I tried to think… Did I bury the (now dead) “other” fish deep enough in the garbage?

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“You have to take us swimming because you promised! You said you should never break a promise.” I reminded my son, who now has two kids of his own, that he had to keep his promises to his boys, because he made me take him swimming that day.

“I remember,” he said. “The pool was closed by the time we got there and I threw a fit all the way home. “Besides,” he added, “I break promises to my kids all the time. They understand that sometimes the stars just don’t line up and I can’t make it happen. It takes them about two seconds to get over it.”

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The above picture was taken when he was a little older. He got to travel by himself to visit Grandma Retta and Grandpa Gus in California.

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I have several, better pictures of those times, but they’re all cataloged by date, person, event, and place. I didn’t have time to alphabetize them, so it would have taken me too long to find them.

“Don’t lie, Mom. They’re thrown into large plastic crates, with people whose names you don’t even know!”

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This was taken right before I told him what really happened to the goldfish.

Mason and Mom…I’m going to Wyoming to spend some time with him next week. Yayyy!!!

Those 70ish girls…There is always room for another phobia

I heard a lady talking on the news about a condition called “phone phobia.” She is charging $480.00 per hour to train millenials to talk on the phone instead of relying solely on texting to communicate with friends, family, and business associates.

I had to stop and think about that for a minute…

I have a phone phobia! I hate to talk on the phone. If I call you instead of texting, it’s a real emergency. I will type paragraphs before I will pick up the phone and call someone. If I miss a call, I text and ask if you really meant to call me. I text my kids, my husband, who is sitting across the room, and my friends. I know you can’t text a landline, but every now and then, I try.

So why am I phone phobic?

In my work life, the phone was the bane of my existence. I spent a huge amount of my day returning calls. It was hard to work in the time to take care of the things that I promised to do during those phone conversations. A call from a customer meant there was a problem. We had cell phones, but there was no texting back then. If you’re talking to someone who has a problem, they sometimes restate the issue several times. In a text, they only type it once.

A big part of aging is there is less memory to go around. If I have information in a text, I can refer back to it. If I’m told something in a phone conversation, I won’t remember it long enough to repeat it. I might even think I heard you wrong or missed important details. Worse than that, I might call you up and tell you what you just told me because I forgot it was you who called. I might argue with you when you try to challenge me on the details. This is not going to be easy, is it? I’m starting to hyperventilate just thinking about it.

Nevertheless, I’m going to try to do better. I really do miss the sound of my children’s voices. I think it’s difficult sometimes to read the intended tone into a text conversation. Are they angry, kidding, happy, or sad? Did spell-check change that word? Oh no, spell-check changed my word and I didn’t notice. I once told Cuz Val that Gus had to quarterback for 2 weeks. Spell-check changed quarantine to quarterback. (He had been exposed to covid.) She said, “What team? I’ll be sure and watch!”

I will make it a point to call more rather than texting, but I can’t promise not to be relieved if I get your voicemail.

I guess this will be a New Year’s resolution. I’ve got this! I’ll focus on overcoming my phone phobia rather than eating healthy and exercising. I can only handle one issue at a time.

Anyway, call me sometime…but you might want to follow-up with an email.

Those 70ish girls… Inspiration comes from many places

I have been binging on all of the Hallmark Christmas movies again. I love them because I know I won’t be offended, and I know the story will have a happy ending. The main character, sometimes a guy and other times a girl, always leaves the big city that they have become disillusioned with, and returns to their quaint and beautiful hometown where their high school girlfriend or boyfriend still resides. Even though they are now in their 30’s, neither of them has ever been married, or if one of them was married, their spouse has died and left them with a darling little girl or boy who is now around 7ish. After being called back to the big city because the offer they thought was dead in the water becomes available, they realize that they can’t go through with accepting the amazing job, and return home to live happily ever after with the reignited flame.

Here is what attracts me to these movies. The towns are always beautifully decorated for Christmas. Everyone has a quaint, but large home that is also beautifully decorated. The residents are interesting and the whole town always plans a lot of festivities during the Christmas season. The main characters always dress in expensive and stylish clothes, and the scenery is always breathtaking. It may not be real life drama, but it sure is fun to live vicariously through these people who are usually people of faith. It’s all very heartwarming. It increases my Christmas spirit and makes me happy.

I have wonderful Christmas memories of my own childhood, and the years my children were growing up. Each year we make new memories. I have been around for 70 Christmases and to me there is no more magical time. The Christmas story is so beautiful and the decorations and bright lights are awesome.

I think people are more inclined to be generous during the holidays as they are reminded of those who are unable to make Christmas festivities happen without the help of others. I think many become more aware of the needs of all of the orphaned and homeless animals. People contribute as much as they possibly can to whatever cause tugs at their heartstrings the most. There are so many worthy organizations that desperately need help. Many people come through, and many goals are reached.

Jesus chose to use people when He fed the multitudes. He could’ve made food appear from thin air or turned rocks into bread, but ordinary people made their resources available to Him, and thus, the needs of a multitude were met. Despite the small amount of fish and bread He had to start with, Jesus turned it into something remarkable. This is so encouraging to me because there are times when I feel that what I have to offer is pitifully sparse. Praise God that He can take our small contributions and turn them into exactly what is needed for that moment. There is always more that can be done to make more happy endings, but the spirit of giving that began with the gift of Jesus is pretty inspiring… Don’t you think?

Enjoy the beauty of this Christmas season, and let us all welcome the promise of a brand New Year.

Those 70ish girls…Yram’s 3 Ingredient Pumpkin Biscuits

There is nothing that Yram Sicnarf enjoys more than cooking up a holiday feast for her family. Here she shares one of her most talked about recipes. Yram’s main goal in life is to make it into Jones County’s next Treasured Recipes Book. The last one was printed in 1976 and will surely be reprised and updated in 2026…Right? Yram still has her copy of the Bicentennial Collection and also the copy she inherited from her mother. (Loretta had not one, but two recipes in the book.) Yram has tried repeatedly to make her mother’s recipe for lemon bars, but they never quite seem to come out the way her mom’s did. Could she have possibly left out a key ingredient? An ingredient lapse can flat ruin a delectable dish.

Let’s put our hands together and welcome, Yram Sicnarf (stage name) who has invited us into her home for this one of a kind pumpkin biscuit demo.

Spoiler alert! The bracelet Yram proudly displays in the video belonged to her Aunt Irma Sanderson. Thank you, Cousin Mark for the best Christmas surprise, ever.

Those 70ish girls…Is it okay for Santa to bring used stuff?

On at least two occasions, Jolly old St Nicholas brought used merchandise to my house. I think I know why. He is a wise Santa and he knew the thing I just had to have was only a momentary desire that would pass in a flash…hardly worth the investment of the new version of whatever I had my heart set on.

An older version of the the younger me with Mom.
I never did learn how to sew

There is a very good reason why I can’t sew, knit, iron, cook, or clean house. Murdo High School did not offer a home economics class. Believe me…the world is full of challenges if you are one of the unfortunate few like me, who was never availed the opportunity to take home economics.

The funny thing is…I wasn’t embarrassed or offended when I got something used. Once I got a pre-owned sewing machine. It was a real clunker too. I remember setting it up on a big table in the open area of the basement house. I also remember sitting there with my dress pattern, my pink fabric and a zipper, wondering what to do next. Mom had asked me if I wanted some help. I soon regretted my impulsive answer. “I can do it by myself!! There’s nothing to it!”

After sitting there for a while and ripping out several miss-placed rows if stitches, I decided being a seamstress was not my calling. Mom made me stick with it and even got our neighbor, Roni Poppe, to try and teach me how a sewing machine worked. I think Mom was still smarting because Mrs. Theisen told my cousins and me that the Sanderson girls never did learn how to do anything useful. I finally finished the pink dress. I never could get one of the sleeves in correctly. I had to hold one arm back like I was about to throw a bowling ball for it to hang right.

Mom sold the pink bowling dress at a rummage sale.

Thankfully, I was able to teach myself how to make chocolate chip cookies.

I’m not sure about what happened to that used sewing machine. The table it sat on was in the way everywhere you went in the house. Maybe Mom sold it with the bowling dress.

The next used thing I got was a stereo. That probably should have been new, but at the time, I didn’t question why Santa decided to find me a good used one. I’m sure he runs across good used stuff all of the time. It only had a few scratches and it was on a new stand with rollers. I think my parents regretted Santa’s choice, because it was a year before I could afford to get any new albums. I got two from Billy for Christmas and I played them over and over again. One was the Kingston Trio and the other was Ray Charles. For some reason I really got attached to his song, “I’m Busted.” Not so long ago, I even sang it at Gus’ American Legion Club karaoke night. I knew the words, but apparently, they didn’t have the music in my key. You don’t get a do-over at the American Legion, anyway.

It’s been fun to reminisce about Santa’s second hand gifts. I guess I come by my enjoyment of shopping at resale stores, honestly. Mom used to bring me things she purchased at garage sales. She told me she only went to those in RICH neighborhoods. I appreciated that. It must be difficult to find people who live in RICH neighborhoods who feel the need to get rid of things for a dollar.

Mrs. Theisen was wrong. Our moms passed on lots of useful things.

Those 70ish girls…MG’s Christmas letter

I vowed to write a first at last. I’d never done this in the past.

I thought there would be nothing to it. It seemed like anyone could do it.

I brought my family all together, so we could write a Christmas letter.

I read those I’d received from others. Written with love by grandmas or mothers.

I said,

“These can be a great example, but our own exciting times are ample.”

One friend’s son has lots of knowledge. He’s only ten and goes to college.

I asked.

“Who has something that compares?” All I saw were empty stares.

My son read,

“This mom said she lost a ton. Now she out-runs everyone.”

A daughter said,

“Mom don’t be sad. look at all the fun you had, eating donuts, pies, and cake.

Who needs to run for heaven’s sake?”

Ignoring her I forged ahead. “Let’s write about our trips instead.”

“Do I have a volunteer to highlight our time-off last year?”

“You said we’d soon be on vacation, and then you changed it to staycation.

Instead of seeing Disneyland and building castles in the sand…

We stayed right here in our own house and drew pictures of Mickey Mouse.”

Had I been overconfident? There must be one accomplishment.

“Did anyone get to school on time, clean their room or solve a crime?”

(They were reading others news and it was giving them the blues.)

I said,

“Let’s not continue this. We’ll send pretty cards this Christmas.”

“We should not antagonize all those with less exciting lives.”

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!