September 27, 2012

Party for the Princess

Next Monday is a very special day!
Monday is Paris's birthday! She has declared from her thrown that it will be a global holiday. You are all supposed to take off work and celebrate with good food, fun games, and snuggling in warm blankets in her honor. Have a party for the princess!

I was snooping around in some boxes a few weeks ago at home and ran across her baby pictures. I don't have them on the computer so I haven't shared them with you, as I have Carlie and Ella's baby pictures. And so I scanned them into the computer so I'd have them to look at on the road, and I thought this would be the perfect oppertunity to share them with you too.

This was her first day at home, when I showed her her new bunny and pink blanket. The bunny she never cared for. The blanket is still her personal favorite (out of a rather large and ever growing collection of blankets) and she gets really excited when she sees me laying it across my lap, because she knows she's going to get bundled up in it.

I got Paris for my Christmas present a couple months after I became an official truck driver. I told Malcolm if I was going to be a truck driver, I wanted a very froo froo girly dog. I think I got exactly what I asked for when I picked Paris.
because every princess needs a little bling!
She has been a princess from day one. The first few days with us she was extremely timid, hiding under the dining room table, staying quiet and keeping a low profile. Turns out she was just scoping out her new kingdom, because within days, once she had the lay of the land down in her memory, she took over our lives, and has ruled her world and all that are in it, even if your just visiting!

She started out by declaring her food not good enough. She wouldn't eat...unless the lady hand fed her.
She appointed Malcolm's shoulder as her throne for evening relaxation periods.
She spent all of 2 nights in her kennel before assisting the humans in realizing princesses sleep in the big bed between their people. How could we have made that mistake?

And from that point, the bed became one of her favorite spots, particularly under the covers.
Preferrably as far under the covers as she can get.

Her demeanor has turned out to be not timid at all. She is the social butterfly. She is the strongest willed of all three of our girls. She gets what she wants when she wants it. But as "big" as she is, she has always been petite. From day one, clothing the princess has been an issue.
Nothing fits. Store bought was always impossibly small, even the tiny sizes. And handmade even took some growing into at times.

Her siblings have outgrown her by leaps and bounds and she is reduced to wearing their hand-me-downs at times, as they outgrew things before they were worn out.
Paris is our pavement princess. She has never liked prickly grass, but preferred the concrete. It's great fun to run on concrete, and the perfect surface for spinning fast circles when your really happy.
She has been my best friend and baby girl from day one. And she has remained devoted to us, even when we forced two crazy siblings on her. She has been patient and forgiving, though there have been times.....

Paris was born in Alabama, and so it's no wonder that she has always dispised the cold and wind. She is a southern belle, and is looking forward to returning to her native lands, or at least close by in Tennessee. She has always enjoyed her visits there, sitting in her grandladies bay window watching the birds.
Paris will be 6 years old on Monday. We haven't told her yet, but there won't be much of a celebration this year. We're going to be very busy. We'll be home on her birthday but not for rest and relaxation. Paris will have to content herself with laying in the sunshine on the back of her couch. Her man and lady are going to be busy packing and tying up loose ends.
We won't have time for partying and big celebrations. It's time to start moving!

September 26, 2012


 Sunset near Bend, OR this past weekend was lovely. Turns out smoky skies are good for a few things after all.
We traveled that stretch of US97 three times between Thursday evening and Monday afternoon, hauling two loads of sunflower seeds from Quincy, WA to north of Sacramento, CA. Those seeds will be planted and become another crop of the sunflower seeds that we hauled from Sacramento to Fargo, ND so many times last winter.

I do love that stretch of 97 from Weed, CA to Toppinish, WA. It is a lovely drive, and it smells wonderful, like pine and earth.
This past weekend was the second weekend of running straight through. We had a small break in that we had from Saturday afternoon till Monday morning to get the 700 miles back to Washington driven. We just bounced back up there empty for a Monday morning reload.

We needed that little break. It has been a very busy and profitable 2 weeks, but we are accustomed to getting to be a bit lazy on the weekends to recuperate, and not getting that for 2 weeks in a row, especially after a week off the road, has hit us hard. Although, on the flip side of that, it has gotten us worked into a schedule and a well oiled driving machine. Go Go Go...cha ching, cha ching!  That, of course, will come in handy with this whole moving thing, which is going to pack a punch financially and physically. Do you have any idea what it takes to move a business? If you thought moving a house hold was hard work, think about doing that along with a business. Lets not even get started.

Anyway, we got our sunflower loads finished up, took a shorty over the mountain from Sacramento and into Sparks, NV, and then reloaded in Carson City, NV and shot up here to Idaho over night for a morning delivery.

Monday was a difficult day. We were tired already, because though we had that little tiny break Sunday, we had neither one of us slept well the past two sleeping opportunities. We had a very early morning delivery, a rush to get to Sacramento and be first in line to load (it can take a long time there if you are not at the head of the line), and then an unpleasant visit with the Sacramento weigh station on our way out. Another story for another time.

And in the midst of all that, we received word that Malcolm's grandfather had passed away just that morning. We had known that he was ill and that he'd been taken to the hospital. Malcolm' s cousin was keeping us abreast of all that was transpiring, so it wasn't exactly a shock, but it was rather sudden, and mercifully over with quickly, but regardless of how prepared you are, it is never an easy thing to lose someone you love.

Malcolm's grandfather was a sweet spirited, quiet man who served the Lord through ministry and loved his family very much. He and Malcolm's grandmother were missionaries in Africa for a while, and upon returning to the US, he served as pastor to a number of churches around the country. When I first met them, they were actually living in Chattanooga, and Malcolm and I enjoyed having them close by and getting to visit with them when we lived there.

There has been much on our minds lately. It is not about just working anymore, but we now both find our driving time occupied with thinking and calculating and figuring on the best method, schedule, and organization of getting us and our life from point A to point B. And when we switch drivers, we compare notes, and one of us pretends to sleep while the other mulls over what the possibilities are. And to not be able to put those ideas into action immediatly is also frustrating. We are both the type that like to act on a plan or idea, once it is born.
And then add to that all the other dynamics of all that has transpired over the past weeks.

I promised to share our adventures with you in our move and our new home. I still commit to do so, but please allow me to be stingy with details for a bit longer. I will do my best not to exclude you for too long. I promise it will be worth the wait. And if it's any consolation to you, believe me when I say it's rather frustrating to me to not be sharing things with you. But I just feel it's necessary for now.

September 21, 2012

Back West

We left my parent's home last Thursday early in the morning....
...and headed to middle Tennessee to load up and get back west where we do most of our trucking. It was a peaceful morning, with a light mist laying on the mountains. As much as I love my mid-western plains, I have missed my Tennessee mountains tremendously.
We took a load of dirt to a Minnesota farm. It was comical to see that windrow of brown Tennessee soil dumped out in the Minnesota field. Expensive dirt too!  OK, so I'm exaggerating a bit. It was actually not just plain dirt, but some kind of mineral stuff for fertilizing. But....basically dirt.

It's always fun to start off after a break with an all nighter. We were kind of tired on Friday. Fortunately, we had the weekend to recuperate. We loaded sunflower seed in North Dakota and headed west, wrapping up the day with a lovely western sunset near Bismarck.
We stopped and slept a few hours during the night, and started our day in Montana, a very smoky Montana. We took our time getting across the state, stopping to run some errands and have a couple of meals at a couple of favorite places. It was a very smoky Montana, as I said. It was smoky from the time we entered the state, till we left it late Saturday evening. In fact, the smoke was the worst we've seen all summer.
southwest of Bozeman
Sunday we had to make up for our lazy day in Montana, so we stayed rolling most of the day, down through Idaho and across northern Nevada...
...delivering in central California bright and early Monday morning.

Since then, we've pretty much been going going going....
We bounced up north of Sacramento and loaded something called "heifer mix."  They were burning off some harvested fields there. More smoke.
In fact I could pretty much sum up our week in two words: busy and smoky.

We left California on Monday afternoon by way of highway 20...
 ...and I-80 into Nevada, and have been running our wheels off ever since. Not that the loads have been long, but the way everything is landing, it's been a lot of load and unload during the day and then drive all night to get there. We've been driving through the night every night this week, and when we're not used to doing that, it starts to wear us down. However, by this point, we've worked our way into the routine, so it should be easier from here forward, if we continue on this pattern.

We delivered in Idaho, reloaded in Ogden, UT, and went back to California. We reloaded in California, delivered in Ogden, UT, reloaded in Idaho and this morning we delivered in Washington. Now we're reloading in Washington, and about to head to California, where we'll deliver in the morning, turn around, bounce back to Washington, and do this run again by Monday morning.

I find it really bizarre that California has had the clearest skies this week. Usually it is so very much the opposite! But west coast skies have been pristine blue compared to the other areas we've been driving through. Montana of last weekend still takes the cake for the worst, but Idaho last evening ran a close second. You know it's bad when you can drive into a blazing western sunset and you have to take off your sunglasses because it's making everything too dim!

Today in Washington, it's not much better.

I told Malcolm this morning, "you know that lovely first whiff of someone's wood smoke from their fire that you get each fall that brings back all the warm fuzzy memories and makes you feel all nostalgic? I don't have that this year. I'm sick of smelling smoke!"

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September 11, 2012

The Chattanooga Market

Since Friday afternoon, we've been at my parent's home in Tennessee. We spent the past few days house hunting, ending up with some disappointments and a couple of hopefuls. We'll see what happens.

House hunting, something I'd normally think of as fun, has been rather tiring and a bit frustrating this go around. Probably because it's being over shadowed with dread. Not dread of living here, but we're both dreading the process of the actual move. And along with that, we're both wanting to get the ball rolling, but just not seeing anything that hits the mark for what we need/want.

We did a lot of traveling on Saturday looking around, and so Sunday morning we decided we should all take a break and do something fun before continuing on the search.
Mom had the perfect suggestion.

In Chattanooga, beneath the protective rise of Lookout Mountain...

...down near the UTC football stadium,...
...in a nice open air pavillion there...
...on ever Sunday during the summer months, the city of Chattanooga hosts The Chattanooga Market. It's a gathering of vendors and shoppers, artists and musicians, and all sorts of things, within the shade of the pavilion where there is lots to see, smell, sample, and purchase.
It opens at 11:00am and we were there for the beginning, before it got too crowded. Mom said some days it's so crowded you can't hardly move. There is live music, with a different musician featured each week. Seating around the stage where you can enjoy the entertainment and some yummy food from the many food vendors.
And after lunch, you can stroll through all the booths and make purchases of all sorts of things, such as fresh produce grown by area farms...
....yummy breads and pastries baked by local bakers....
...stock your pantry with some delightful canned jellies, relishes, and goods....
....purchase a lovely flower arrangement or stock up on fresh herbs...

....and pick up some unique arts and crafts as well.
We toured it all, sampled several yummy things, and purchased a few items of fresh goodness. Then on our way out, we stopped at the cake stand my parents have been telling us about. This lady bakes and decorates specialty cakes. And on Sunday's she bring an impressive collection of flavors down to the market and sells them by the slice. One look, even without a taste, made me want to write down her name for any future cake ordering needs I might run across. What a great marketing strategy she has come up with!
Talk about a hard decision to make!!!! She had just about any type of cake you could think of, from traditionals like German Chocolate, Lemon, Coconut, and Caramel, to some more unique flavors, such as Pumpkin, Tropical, and Dad's favorite, Mounds, which turns out to be an extremely rich chocolate cake with coconut and Mounds candy bar pieces and topped off with chocolate icing. And she's not skimpy on her icing either, or her servings. It's a giant piece of cake! We got a couple pieces to enjoy after our lunch.

After our cake purchase, we drove out to a favorite local deli that mom and dad have eaten at for years. It's like their special place, or at least that's how I've always thought of it. And after lunch, we did some more house hunting.

We found two really neat places we liked this past week, only to have them bought just as we had discovered them. But as Mom said, and as I keep reminding myself, God must have something even better for us.

We might have found the something better Sunday afternoon. If it's meant to be I know we'll get it, but it won't hurt to ask for as many prayers and crossed fingers as we can get going on this. So if you don't mind? Thanks!
Here's a link to The Chattanooga Market for more information. Chattanooga's just a great place to visit, so if your trying to figure where you want to go for next summer's vacation, and your tired of the same old beach trip, think about coming down here and exploring.

September 3, 2012


It started as the silence of boredom. I was tired blogging about trucking and the rut I felt I was in.

It turned into the silence of having been shocked and not having the words for expression.

And then it became a choice to be silent because I hadn't much good to say.

These are the reasons I give for my recent silence on this blog. But I am finished being silent.

More often than not, the path we envision ourselves taking in life, isn't exactly the one we end up traveling. And despite how much we plan and dream and work towards a goal we have set in our minds, sometimes it turns out that's not where we're headed.

Fortunately, God's plans are always better than our own, and, though I don't believe He necessarily orchestrates the painful experiences in our lives, I do believe he uses any and all situations to help us grow, draw us closer to Him, and to bring glory to His name.

All that said, it's time to share with you, my blogging friends, that here in the weeks to come, Malcolm and I will be packing our boxes, the girls will be packing their toy chest, and the horses will be loading their saddle bags, and we're all going to hit the road for Tennessee.

Montana has been good to us and for us, but the future we had envisioned there is no longer what it was envisioned to be. And since the only other place we would want to be is near our family in Tennessee, that is where we are heading.

It is a bitter sweet moment in our life. It will be sad to say goodbye to Montana and all that we love there, but we have moved through, and are getting past the sadness, and are emerging into the happiness and excitement over all that the future may hold.

So, in summary:

Into every life a little rain must fall, but when one door closes another one opens, and as we all know, this too shall pass.
So county road take me home, to the place where I belong.

A door has closed,  and the sun is setting on our life in Montana.

But this is the beginning of whole new adventure.