Happy New Year from the ship builders

grandmesa winter

Whew! What a fast year that was. I can’t believe we are in the New Year already. So many things have happened in the past 12 months, I thought I would give you a little readers digest version of them.

In January our son was laid off from his North Dakota oilfield job, so he headed back home, and he and the kids lived in their 5th wheel again. We celebrated our granddaughter’s birthday with a big bash at Chuckie Cheese’s and she had a ball. Well, up until she got home and had the flu all night. Poor babe.

February was cold and dry for the most part. Dave celebrated his birthday, and we plugged along trying to get used to life in the camper in the cold. We had a problem with humidity and found several of our important papers that were stored in the upper cupboards were soggy and ruined. Our bedroom was another place where we had lots of moisture. I guess we are heavy mouth breathers. I would wake up in the night and wipe down the walls with towels. We’ve since purchased a dehumidifier, but so far we haven’t had any rain or snow for months.

Speaking of that, we could be headed into a drought. That makes me a bit nervous since we have to purchase our water from the local town. If they don’t have enough, we may be out of luck. They will probably just charge us more per load, which is really reasonable right now. That is something to think about in the future.

The spring brought cold, harsh winds. I’ve always dreaded the spring winds, even in the town we lived in before. It would feel like the wind came straight down from Grand Mesa bringing the coldest, most bitter air it could. Now we live at the base of that mountain, so we are that much closer, and that much colder.

Our son got another job in late spring, so that was a big blessing. He worked long hours and since he had no vehicle at that time, I had to drive him to work. As long as he was working at the shop, it wasn’t too bad, but when he would have to meet his ride at the Interstate at 3 a.m. this old mama had a bit of a hard time.

We made it through and he got a place with one of his work buddies in July. This was a mixed blessing for me. Happy that he’s doing so well, but, I have to admit, I got very used to having him and his kids living so close.

I had to have emergency gall bladder surgery the Friday before Father’s Day. I had been feeling sick for quite a while, but I was afraid to admit that something may be wrong. There was no denying it then. I had the surgery and my folks came down, and helped out while I was recovering. I was better after a week or so, but there were certain things I couldn’t do, like start the generator for air conditioning by myself.

My sister and brother in law stopped by to help me most days, and a neighbor did it if they couldn’t make it. Eventually we got the automatic starter going, so that was even better. We did fine until the whole thing broke down. My son and his roommate took it to a little shop, but they were so busy they never got to it.

That was a mixed blessing, because as it turned out, it was still under warranty and if they had worked on it, we would’ve had to fit the bill. We found an authorized dealer to fix it and four long, hot weeks later we had it back.

In the meantime, we had a small portable swamp cooler, so I could at least tolerate the heat. A gift from my brother in law, and I’m so thankful for his generosity.

We were in need of a vacation from life and trying to build this house, so we planned to go to Taos, New Mexico and check out the earthship community there. We were going to time it so that we could drive down to Albuquerque and catch the annual balloon festival. I told our son about our plans and he told me in no uncertain terms that was no vacation. I laughed him off, but a few days later he called and told me to get a passport and pack warm because he was sending us on a real vacation.

He wanted to surprise us, but since I don’t have a passport and they need a destination to let you have one, he had to tell us. He sent us on an Alaskan cruise!


We left our dry, parched parcel of land and headed to Denver to catch a plane. From there we flew to Seattle to catch the boat! We were so excited and didn’t want to get left behind, so instead of exploring the city a little bit, we went straight to the dock and checked in. We ended up having plenty of time, having to wait in a huge room at least an hour before we could board the ship.

Dave gets so excited to explore new places. He had us up and down on every level of the ship within the first few hours we boarded. I think there was only one place we never got to, a chapel. We had wanted to check it out on the Sunday, but there was a group in there most of the time.

I thought we would start to relax as soon as we boarded, but it took Dave at least 24 hours to relax and when we did, we slept. I think I slept for 12 hours straight, then we ate (of course) then I napped again.

We had so much fun exploring the little villages and towns we docked at. We went to a logging show, and when we were in Juneau, we purchased a tour to the Mendenhall Glacier, and a whale watching tour.


We were so excited for the whale watching and had to catch another bus, so instead of hiking around and checking the glacier all out, we took a few pictures then sat and waited for our next bus. We are such goofy travelers. I get all worried about the schedules and I don’t want to miss the bus, I end up missing what is right in front of me.


The boat for the whale watching was small and since we were the last to purchase tickets, we ended up on the “honeymooner’s seats.” It was a little bench at the back of the boat, outside, but they gave us a blanket and gave us our own private talk about what to expect. We had a blast and saw quite a few whales. Magnificent! That alone was worth the trip. When we got back to shore, the tide had moved out, so we had to hike up a long dock to get to the bus. There were bald eagles perched on every pole, tree and on the buildings when we got there. They were all over the place, kind of how ravens are here.


We had another day at sea then we got to Victoria, B.C. We visited the Buchard Gardens. Spectacular! I had been as a young adult, but I had forgotten how remarkable the whole place was.

We flew back from Seattle to Denver and had breakfast with my cousin and her hubby the next morning. When we got home, I was worried I would be dreading our dry climate and sage brush and redish dirt everywhere. But I was surprised to feel the sense of peace of coming home. Dusty, dry, dirty home.

The rest of the fall flew by. I wrote another book in my Xander James Mystery series in the November (NaNoWriMo) writing contest.

December was dry and warm. We only had light snow a couple of times, but that’s good for our solar system. Dave worked on Christmas, so I went to the kids’ houses and visited with them on Christmas morning. I stopped at my sister’s house and saw my folks, then came home and made us a nice little Christmas dinner.

My family got together after Christmas at a church for a potluck. It was so much fun. No stress, just food and visiting. I told Dave that day felt more like Christmas than ever.


I’m at peace, feeling exited and energized for the first time in a long time.

I’ve given up resolutions, and now have intentions. My intentions for the new year are to be grateful for every blessing I have, and to live in the now.

God bless you all in this bright new do-over. V

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6 Responses to Happy New Year from the ship builders

  1. Dwayne Reeder says:

    I love catching up on people’s lives. Laurie always send a Christmas card with a letter detailing their families’ yearlong adventures. So, I guess I get to live through other peoples lives, which I really enjoy as of reader and a Reeder.

    I hope you both have the most wonderful year and that your peace continues throughout.

  2. Beth says:

    Thanks for your wonderful holiday blog and all the great pictures! I’m so glad you take time to share your life with friends and fans! Wishing you a happy new year with good health and lots of blessings… you deserve the very best! 🙂

  3. Victoria Serorian says:

    Happy New Year! Thanks again for my gift book, I am thoroughly enjoying it, I mean devouring it. Love your books, keep em coming. Thanks for sharing your reality life with your fans that’s a bonus. From another Victoria in Vernonia Oregon…May God Make His Face To Shine Down Upon You and Yours and Keep You Safe and full of His Glory.

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