Monday, May 30, 2011

It's all about the service

Sure, it's nice to have a 3-day weekend and a day off from work. Sleeping late was great. But I want to stop for a minute and remember those family members of mine who have served or are still serving:

My dad, Lt. Col. Charles Floyd, who died on New Year's Day 2001, joined the Army Air Corps, became a pilot, and served in the AAC, which became the US Air Force, until he retired in 1973. I think he was in the AF for about 30 years.

My brother-in-law Tom graduated from the Air Force Academy and served in the Air Force.

My brother Chuck went through ROTC at SW Texas State and North Texas State, and gave a full career to the Air Force. He's now retired from the AF and working as a math teacher in Ingram, Texas.

My brother Barry, who died 5 years ago, joined the Air Force and served 5 or 6 years. The Air Force took him to South Dakota, where he met his wife Alice. She's a true sister to me.

My husband Don joined the Air Force in 1967, and retired after 23 years in 1990. We met while I was stationed at Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany, and we've been together 30 years.  He's been stationed at McCoy AFB(now closed - Orlando, FL), Myrtle Beach AFB SC, Korat RTAB in Thailand, Ramstein AB Germany, Rhein-Main AB Germany, Norton AFB CA, and Zweibrucken AB Germany. I've probably left something out, but those are the ones I remember either hearing about or being there with him.

My father-in-law Gene is a retired Army Chief Warrant Officer. He met and married Don's mother Erika when he was stationed in Augsburg, Germany.

My brother-in-law Wayne is retired from the Air Force. His last base was at Keflavik, Iceland.

My brother-in-law Bob served in the Army, and was at Mannheim, Germany when we were at Rhein-Main.

My son, Staff Sergeant Kenny Holman, has been in the Air Force for 8 years. He's been to Hill AFB in Utah, Kunsan AB in Korea, Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Manas AB in Kyrgyzstan, Kadena AB in Japan, and is currently at Holloman AFB in New Mexico.

My nephew Charles served in the Marines. Theresa and I drove down to see him when he was going through basic training in San Diego.

My niece Nikki served in the Air Force. We saw her last when we were camping at Lake Mead and she was newly married to Alex, who is in the Air Force.

I went through AFROTC at Texas Tech University, and served 2 years with the AF at Rhein -Main AB in Germany. That's where I met Don and where our daughter Theresa was born.

I hope I haven't forgotten anyone - if I did, I'll add them later!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Getting Close!

This is our last weekend at home for a long time.

I'll go work half days on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We'll be "moving in" to Yucaipa Regional Park on Wednesday, so that we can make sure the trailer is all ready to go and we have all the things we need for our trip. then on Friday, we'll HIT THE ROAD!!!!

The past week has been fun--two different retirement parties, plus my book club gathering, and almost nothing to do at work since the school year is ending and the transition to the new president has already begun.

Today I finished sewing the last of a bunch of blocks for a swap, and then I packed up all my quilting stuff that I will take on the trip. On Monday we'll take all the frozen food down to the trailer (it's in a storage unit down the mountain in Mentone) and then I'll defrost the freezer in the basement. We've been eating some interesting things lately as I've been whittling down the more bulky foods. Tonight, for example, I used up some pepperoni and mozzarella and made a pizza. Unfortunately, the pepperoni was old--and tasted old--so we picked it off and ate mushroom pizza.

One more task left is to go through the "to do" list on the DVR and make sure it's got the bare minimum to record. We'll be gone pretty long, so I don't want to have it fill up quickly. I don't want to miss "The Closer," "Memphis Beat," "The Glades," or "Hawthorne"-- our favorite summer shows. I know we'll have TV pretty often this summer, but I don't want to organize my days around TV. There's so much more to do!

3 half days left!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Visitors for the party

This is my son, Kenny, and his girlfriend Robin. They drove in from Holloman AFB in New Mexico to be with me at the retirement party last night. Then, showing they are YOUNG, they left at 6:30 pm and drove back.  To New Mexico.  He called early this afternoon and said they got back home at 7 am.  I remember when I used to stay up all night.  At least I think I remember.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Getting Closer! and Winter Plans

Today is the first of three retirement parties. This is the one that the teachers' association (of which I'm the president) puts on. For the first time in 8 years I won't be the emcee - I've turned that over to the current VP and incoming president. This time maybe I'll win a door prize!

We just committed to winter in North Carolina. Yes, winter.  I'll be volunteering at the W. Kerr Scott Dam Visitor Center and Environmental Education Center from the last week in December (right after Christmas) for at least 2 months. I will actually USE the Environmental Education master's degree I earned 10 years ago. 

Why North Carolina? And why winter?  Well, first of all, we have our big Canada-Alaska trip planned for the summer.  Then we'll stay home for a couple of months, wanted to go somewhere to escape the winter snows.  Remember my gripes about the shoveling?  We might get ice storms and some cold temps in Wilkesboro, but shouldn't have to shovel.   Secondly, I have a sister in Cary and a sister-in-law in Fuquay-Varina, both about 3 hours away. We'll stay at Jordan Lake a week or so before Christmas and spend it with them, and my mother's coming from Texas and another sister's coming from San Francisco. A bit of a mini-reunion. So it's an opportunity to see family that I haven't seen since my brother died 5 years ago. 

Thirdly, I researched all the winter fishing opportunities for the area, and Don's going to be fine. Not only will there be good fishing in the lake, but he can fish the Yadkin River and go up into the mountains if the weather's not too bad.

So retirement is going to be busy!

13 more work days. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fire above Forest Falls

Photo courtesy of John Katena

Photo courtesy of John Katena
Yesterday afternoon we heard a helicopter flying around - we figured it was looking for a lost hiker (a common occurrence) or something "normal."  After about an hour, Don looked out the window and said, "Take a look at those clouds - those aren't clouds, are they?"  I looked, and said, "Nope. That's smoke."  We went outside, and saw that a fire had broken out on the side of the mountain in Lost Creek Canyon, about 2 miles from our house.  It's up at about 8,000' (we live at 6,000').  We were joined by our neighbors for a while, and my neighbor John took these photos.  I'd love to claim them, but my camera isn't powerful enough. These were taken from our front steps.

The fire must have been started by a careless hiker, since it's situated along the connector trail between Momyer/Alger Creek and Vivian Creek in the San Gorgonio Wilderness.  It was pretty close to Dobbs Creek.  

The wind was blowing the fire mostly towards the east, but a few spot fires kept breaking out downhill. Those eventually were put out by a couple of water drops (we think) and we went back inside after we saw the third helicopter join the fight. After about 3 hours we no longer heard any helicopters, so we figured it was out or mostly out.

This morning, on my way to work, I saw several dozens of fire units parked in the Momyer Creek parking lot - and lots of crew getting ready to hike up to the fire.  Since the fire is in a wilderness area, no mechanized equipment is allowed - no ATVs, no saws - just shovels and pulaskis wielded by firefighters on foot.  I'm assuming they're going up to put out spots and smolders to make sure the fire is completely out.