Sunday, September 13, 2009


Are you looking for the perfect romantic comedy for your Christian reading group? Look no further than Fools Rush In, where Tex-Mex meets Italian for a boot scoot'n good time!

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Revell (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800733428

Here's a synopsis:

Bella Rossi may be nearing thirty, but her life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding planning business, Bella is determined not to let them down. She quickly books a "Boot Scoot'n" wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch—she knows nothing about country music because her family only listens to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Where will she find a DJ on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his Keith Urban?

When a misunderstanding leads her to the DJ (and man) of her dreams, things start falling into place. But with a family like hers, nothing is guaranteed.

Can the perfect Texan wedding survive a pizza-making uncle with mob ties, an aunt who is a lawsuit waiting to happen, and a massive delivery of 80 cowboy boots? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding? Book one in the Weddings by Bella series, Fools Rush In is fun, fresh, and full of surprises. Readers will love the flavorful combination of Italian and Tex-Mex, and the hilarity that ensues when cultures clash.

Here's what several readers had to say about the book:
Carlybird’s Home

Do you need a laugh? I mean a really good laugh? Then you need to read Fools Rush In. This has got to be one of the funniest books I have ever read, perhaps even the funniest. The concept of these two very different cultures coming together is priceless. The author has obviously spent a lot of time with very large Italian families because she knows all of their funny little nuances, and I love that.

The characters in this story are so delightful and I loved all the different personalities that just seemed to blend well together without feeling contrived. I especially liked Guido; he was a great source of humor and hope. The story was fun and fast paced, but still had a good flow to it. It never felt rushed nor did it drag at any point.
At the heart of this very funny book is Bella, a young woman who has a lot of fears and insecurities. As she embarks on the challenge of running her family’s wedding planning business, she must learn to trust God for everything. That is a simple truth that we all need to hear as much as possible. I am so glad that Fools Rush In is the first in the Weddings by Bella series. I hope the author is hard at work on the next book because I am so excited to read it. Fools Rush In was such a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know what to expect, but I have to say, this book is a delight. I can’t recommend this book strongly enough. It will make you laugh and make you think. You will be glad you read it. I know I am.

From Author Trish Perry:
Mamma mia, let's escape! Let's fall in love! Let's eat chicken parmesan, fettuccini alfredo, and Bubba's down-home barbeque without gaining a pound. It's all possible when we hang out with Bella Rossi in Fools Rush In. Janice Thompson's first installment in the Weddings by Bella series is a fun, welcome distraction from life's boredom and stress. You'll fall for Bella's DJ even faster than she does. And you'll root for the Rossi and Neeley families as they break down cultural barriers and rush toward each other, arms wide open. No fools, they! - Trish Perry (

From Ane Mulligan, editor, Novel Journey
“Janice Thompson is a master storyteller who draws her readers into the tale along with the characters. From page one of Fools Rush In, I felt as if I were Bella’s best friend, sitting down with her over cups of Italian cappuccino while she told me the latest happenings in her zany family. One of my top picks for 2009, Fools Rush In earns a permanent place in my library.”


Book Trailer (YouTube):

To read the first two chapters of the book online:
Romantic Times Spotlight:

Janice's Website: www.janiceathompson (to purchase an autographed copy of the book)

Janice's Email:

Buy Fools Rush in at here:

Thanks so much for your interest! Have a boot scoot'n day, y'all!

Janice Thompson lives in the Houston area and is thrilled to speak to local reading groups and/or women's groups. She can be reached at You will find a copy of the book's discussion questions here:

Love ya,

PS: I've read Janice's wonderful book. From the beginning she had me laughing out loud. Her words transported me into her imagination. I felt as if the Rossi's (themselves) welcomed me into their home for a feast of Italian fare. Great read and very entertaining. LOVED IT!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009


Except in and around Washington, D.C.

R. and I find this is sooooooooo true when we’re on the road again to our nation’s capitol (via Arlington, Virginia). AND, this lack of signage AND/OR size of signs almost gets me thrown in the slammer (you think I’m kidding – I’m not). Let me explain. . .

Oh, but I have to tell you about our visit to the Arlington National Cemetery first.

Hallowed ground, the sign reads! Silence surrounds us as we walk among the white grave markers. Row after perfectly aligned row blankets the landscape and it’s so much bigger than I thought it would be. Again, I say “thank you” to the countless men and women who sacrificed their all for our freedom.

Next, R. and I go to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to watch the changing of the guard ceremony. Even though we read about it before we made the trip, it’s amazing to see. Unbelievable what these soldiers must go through to get one of the prestigious positions. To read more - go to


As we leave the cemetery in search of our next destination – the Pentagon Memorial - the signage problem starts to rear its ugly head (refer to first paragraph above). Try as we might, we can’t find the highway to take us to the 9-11 memorial, but we do locate (and take) the one leading us back to Herndon.
R. doesn’t let this little detour dissuade him. He turns around and we get on the road again and locate a honking sign announcing the Pentagon exit, which is a half mile in front of us. Praise the Lord, we’re almost there.

NOT SO FAST! What do my eyes behold but a teeny tiny sign telling unsuspecting tourists that the exit we’re about to pass is the one we want. I shout and point and POOF! Mario Andretti replaces R. in the driver’s seat (or so it seems). Somehow hubby’s able to maneuver the Hyundai down the ramp in time with no mishaps recorded.

Unfortunately, those are about to surface when we try to park at the Pentagon. Every sign in the large lot indicates that only cars with specific stickers can park there. Since we see others parking there, R. and I reason it’s o-ke-do-kie to do the same.

I get out of the car and decide it’s time to take a picture. But before I do that, please repeat this phrase after me – “For lack of knowledge, people perish.”

One minute I’m posed to take a photo of the Pentagon and the next thing I know two cops are vying for MY full attention. People, I’m torn as to which one of them to go to. Do I go to the one on my left who’s just jumped out of his car and is waving his arms at me? OR do I go to the one in front of me who is sitting in his patrol car with his index finger out his window motioning me to come on over?

Logic tells me I better do something before one of them decides to shoot me for evading arrest. With my heart a pounding, I look over to Officer #1 and point at Officer #2 and shout, “He wants to see me, too.”

It’s obvious by Officer #1’s expression he doesn’t know what I’m trying to say. Also, I realize he doesn't see Officer #2 and the fact he too is beckoning me. I repeat myself and point with more enthusiasm at Officer #2. Finally Officer #1 understands and turns and goes back to his patrol car. I can once again breathe.

We head over to Officer #2’s vehicle and before I can ask what all the fuss is about, the man says, “Put the camera away. It’s against the law to take pictures of the Pentagon.”

As quick as I can, I stuff my camera deep into my Capri pocket. “Sir, I’m so sorry. I didn’t see any signs.”

It’s obvious my answer isn’t the one he wants because the young man’s bald head begins to turn a pinkish color. Seems he’s struggling with what to say next. He takes a couple of breaths and with all the calm he can muster, he blurts out, "there are SIGNS posted everywhere stating that the taking of photographs is illegal.”

Before a sassy retort falls out of my mouth (like - where are they), R. jumps in and informs the policeman of the signage woes we’ve already experienced today. The officer seems to agree with our assessment and says so.

I’m thinking that we're getting somewhere and we’re almost done with this discussion. I really want to move on to see the memorial.

NOT SO FAST – R. isn’t finished. He adds, “And we aren’t supposed to park here, are we.” He point to our little car in the almost empty lot.

“No. You need to follow the signs to park at the mall. Turn on Red, White and blah, blah, blah…”

ALL I WANT TO DO IS SEE THE MEMORIAL! Please, don't tell me we have to find another SIGN!

I wait patiently as the officer finishes his directions, and then I thank him for his help. R. and I walk to the car and together we decide it’s time to move on. Today isn’t the day to see the Pentagon Memorial – maybe next trip.

R. finds his way out of the parking lot and is on the road again and I’m happy to report we locate our next stop - Capitol City Brewing Company – without any more incidents. And, I think you’ll agree I’ve had one too many of those already. People, it's not every day I’m in the middle of a stand-off and almost get thrown in jail.

Now you know why I’m a writer.

Love ya,

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Today’s blog is our 4th of July/28th Anniversary adventure. Yes, I'm a tad behind, but sit back. It's a ride you're sure to enjoy. We’re on the road again -this time we visit Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

We make our usual stop at the area’s Visitor’s Center. Then we head to the Appalachian Trail Visitor Center. This is the place where thru-hikers stop for supplies, hook up on the Internet, and rest up. A sign boasts it’s the halfway point between Georgia and Maine.

Since I’m a curious sort, I start talking to one of the thru-hikers. Kozemo tells us he started his trek on the AT in March, but got side-lined in mid-May. He slipped coming down a hill and broke his leg.

People, I know what you're thinking, but I stay put and calmly ask him if a helicopter was involved in his rescue.

“No, I’m trained as an EMT and I had my buddy wrap my leg real tight and we walked out.”

At that moment, I decide I am NUTS for even thinking about hiking any of the 2,178 miles. BUT when I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. After our chat with Kozemo, I pick up a book to read. Information inside seals the deal. I AM NUTS and I’m not sleeping in the shelters along the Appalachian Trail. They have MICE (did I mention I hate them more than going over huge bridges).

I've never hyperventilated before, but I am certain I was doing just that with this last bit of news. Then I realize (and start to smile), I don’t have to worry about the rodents. First, I have to train for the long journey. And, I’m thinking it’s going to take a whole lot longer to get into shape than I thought (wink, wink).

We head to our hotel and settle in. Oh, by the way, did I mention the reason it's a big day? R. is dragging me down a big nasty river in nothing but a little rubber boat. We're riding the rapids.

Oh, how I prayed for the Lord’s return, but the day dawns clear and bright. We arrive at River Riders with plenty of time to spare. R. assures me that we’ll face Category 1 and 2 (mild, with a few bumps) rapids. I’m okay with his explanation until I watch the safety film. The water and people flopping around in the rafts appear anything but tame. God help me.

Again, I bow my head in fervent prayer, but Jesus decides it still isn’t time for his triumphant return. I don’t have a choice but to go and get fitted with a helmet and life vest. We take a bus to the Shenandoah River and Ryan, our guide, loads us up and we’re off.

All (or most) of my fears disappear a few yards from shore. Ryan assures me if I pay attention, I won’t fall out of the raft. Whenever we come close to any rapids, he tells us exactly what we need to do. I’m out of my comfort zone and having a GREAT time. Who knew?

As our almost four hour voyage wraps up, I look back and ponder - it's amazing when I push the limits I’ve set for myself, I enjoy the experience. Am I ready for bigger and faster rapids? Not quite yet, but I’ll remember the great time R. and I had for years to come.

Both of us are tired pups, but there’s still daylight. We take off on the back roads and (as usual) find some interesting sites (see picture below).

We found this adorable house in Shepherdstown, WV. Wouldn’t this make a wonderful playhouse? Honestly, I’d love to go home right now and build one and call it my office. Since it seems almost magical, maybe I’d get some serious writing done. Just a thought!

Our eventful day ends and our heads hit the pillow early ‘cause tomorrow is another big day. It’s July 4th and our 28th anniversary. R. and I need to do some serious celebrating after the year we’ve had (I’ll leave it at that and go on) and what we decide to do is hike another stretch of the Appalachian Trail (no worry about mice today since I won’t be sleeping).

R. pulls into the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and we grab our hiking sticks out of the trunk and take a bus. The driver drops us off in Harpers Ferry and within minutes we’re on the trail again.

Should we go to Maine or Georgia? Decisions, decisions, decisions.

We decide to head north and maybe a half mile into our excursion; I spot a man in a wheelchair coming toward us. This incredible sight puts any troubles I may have in the “quit grumbling, it could be so much worse” file in my heart. R. and I say hi and the gentleman asks if we want to buy some water. Since it’s early, we decline (stay tuned to the rest of the story).

As you can see we manage to clock a quite a few miles on our hike today (and if you believe that we walked 59 miles – I’ve got some land in Florida I’d like you to look at-HA!).

As much as we hate to end our hike, it’s time to go. We turn around and on our way, we run into the gentleman in the wheelchair. This time we’re ready to buy a bottle or two of water from him, but he’s sold out, but all is not lost. Craig goes on to share why he spends his time on the trail.

“I’ve got two choices. I can stay in a nursing home and die or I can be out here, bringing water to people who need it. I’d rather be among the living.”

Amen! And what a testimony, Craig. Thanks for putting things into perspective. May God richly bless you and your endeavors.

We head to Herndon for a dinner at Uno-Chicago Grill. What a delightful day and it ends with delicious food (dessert was on the house-what a surprise).


PS: And since we’re speaking of Uno – our wonderful waitress brought us our doggy bag in this brightly colored box. What a sweetheart.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Mapquest is one of the best inventions, but I still have one BIG grumble about them and that is their last two directions. The streets don’t exist OR they moved them when they knew we were coming to town. Please tell me someone else has this problem?

The step-by-step instructions get us on the road again to Atlantic City, New Jersey this time. Today there’s no back roads for us – toll roads are calling R.’s name. He says they’ll save us an hour and a half in driving time. This sounds good to me (that is until he makes the eight stops at the toll booths and forks over a whopping $17.35). Thank goodness R. thought to get some cash before we left. God bless him.

Our travels take us over the Delaware River and did I ever mention I don’t like bridges? I’ve found in this area you don’t have a choice but to take them. Only other option - ferry a boat to get where you’re going.

I live through the traumatic ordeal and we make it to our destination on time (despite all the stops at the toll booths, breakfast/Starbucks/potty break AND (refer back up to first paragraph) not finding the last two street on our directions).

As usual, we didn’t make reservations. Thought we’d check out the area and then make our decision on where to stay. I’m so glad we did because we find a cozy bed and breakfast (The Carisbrook Inn) a block from the Boardwalk and beach.

Our room looks out over the Atlantic Ocean and the first thing we do is open all the windows and let the sea breeze in. Tiredness just evaporates and we’re ready for whatever the rest of our day has to offer.

Which is off to walk on the Boardwalk and visit some of the establishments (casinos) lining the beach. Lady luck smiles on me the first day, but leaves me high and dry the rest of the time. That’s okay, the stars align for R. and his winnings keep us in the black. No need to sell our gold to get home.

After dinner we head back to the bed and breakfast and open the windows again. We crawl into their king size bed and soon we’re fast asleep.

Early the next morning (before breakfast), we take a stroll along the beach. We don’t get very far before I stop and begin my ritual of collecting shells. I hear R. sigh deeply. The sure sign he wants me to walk faster (get a little exercise while we at it), but that’s not happening. Do I have to remind him (AGAIN) that there are treasures waiting for me to find? Anyway, I’m getting a workout – bend over, pick up shell, stand up, walk six inches and bend over. . .you get the drift.

Soon, my stomach starts to growl and I know breakfast is calling my name. We get back to the b&b and clean up and go downstairs. A couple is already sitting in the dining room. We chat with them while we wait for our fare of the day (fruit, scone, omelet, potatoes, juice – did I say we weren’t hungry after their feast?).

Another couple comes in and starts chatting with all of us. Laughter fills the room. I smile. THIS is why R. and I stay at b&b’s and why we owned one. In the matter of minutes you make friends and everyone has a tale to tell.

And, this morning, for some reason, our story seems to intrigue these people – especially the last couple. They have questions about opening up an auto repair shop. I know for a fact we spent over two hours talking to them about opening, running and maintaining a successful shop.

They listen to us and the bits of advice we give them, and then they shared their hearts with us. In the end we prayed for them. What a blessing and one we would have missed if we’d stayed at an ordinary hotel. Thank You, Lord.

We hate to leave our new friends, but need to get on the road again. Our next stop – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - and the home of the Liberty Bell.

Right in front of us is another bridge (which you know I love). This one is called the Ben Franklin Bridge. While R. drives across the monstrosity, I look for signs for the famous bell. There are none (or I didn’t see any that points us in the right direction).

But after reading the teeny-tiny map of downtown Philadelphia, I discover we’re going the WRONG direction. I tell R. to turn around and without another mishap (and my expert navigational skills-HA!) we find the Visitor’s Center.

Before we get very far inside, I see an interesting sign - Tickets for Independence Hall are SOLD-OUT! Oh my goodness, does this mean we don’t get to see the Liberty Bell? I scurry over to the counter and ask the young girl. She assures us that the bell is in another building and circles the location. We thank her and follow the map she gave us.

Liberty Bell and
Independence Hall in the background

After R. snaps a picture of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, I hear a man reading the first paragraph to his son. At first I chuckle to myself, but then realize how important this moment is. I’m witnessing a father trying to convey to his son the importance of the document in front of them. And, the reason our nation is free today.

Well, I better wrap up our Back East Bloglog for today. Stay tuned for more adventures to come.

Love ya and happy reading,

PS: What a sight!! A clown toting a tool box - either they have lots of make-up to carry or they’re a handyman wearing the outfit as a unique marketing tool. I’ll guarantee I wouldn’t forget my plumber if he came in a get-up like that one.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Today our excursion takes us on the road again to Baltimore's Inner Harbor. A mere 60 miles from Herndon. Amazing that a whole other state is just a little over an hour away. Tad different from Texas, I’d say.

And, as usual, our trips come with a delay or funny (this is a little of both). The fact is I should leave my coffee cup at the apartment. But noooooooo I bring it along and swig it down like I have a Porta Potty in the back seat (we didn’t buy that Hyundai model). Even these short distances cause me problems.

R. (ever so kind) takes an exit which boasts of a Shell station. On our off-the-freeway run, not a gas station is found. He turns the car around and gets back on I-495. As he merges, the VERY next sign announces a rest area and a visitor’s center a half mile away. Glory Hallelujah. There is a God in heaven and He heard his daughter’s cries.

Now we’re ready to visit Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

The city skyline welcomes us.

We park and spot the Visitor’s Center and go in and get a map of the area and start walking. I don’t believe we went two blocks and hunger pangs hit R. And since I'm never one to turn down a meal, I follow and order a slice of pizza. When it comes it’s hanging over the side of the plate. It’s the biggest slice of pizza I’ve ever seen and I consume most of it.

With energy to burn, we take off again.

First stop Camden Yards (in baseball lingo that’s the Baltimore Orioles stadium) and another landmark I can check off my list. As we stroll around the perimeter R. notices plaques embedded in the cement. I stop and notice they are there to mark where players have hit it out of the park. COOL!!!

After our self-guided tour of the Orioles stadium, we take off and walk around town. Thank goodness for the breeze off the water and shade trees (both make our looooonnnnnggggg stroll more enjoyable).

While on our extended walk, I see a woman with a stroller on the other side of the street and she’s heading the opposite direction from us. We cross the street and there on the sidewalk is a pink teddy bear. Without much thought, I ran after the woman, thinking the stuffed animal belongs to her child.

As I get closer to the woman, I say, “Ma'am. Ma’am.” She doesn’t turn. I try again. She still keeps going. Finally I yell, “Lady with the stroller.” She stops and looks at me like I’m some kind of lunatic. I ask her if her child lost their teddy bear. The woman answers “no” and turns and walks away.

Sometimes my good deeds work out and sometimes they don’t. This time not so much. R. props up the abandoned bear by a tree and we continue our travels, but my heart hurts for the little one who lost his or her buddy.

Soon after my trek to save Mr. Teddy, I’m hot – and God bless R. when he spies a place for refreshment. Good excuse for us to get into air-conditioning and rest our weary feet. Did I mention shopping??

But, thank goodness, I didn’t buy anything because our next stop – a climb up some pretty steep steps to an overlook to take a picture of the harbor. Breathtaking scenery!

On our way down, we decide to take the path, but soon R. gets bored of the sensible and wants to get down quicker. He heads down the grass and urges me to do the same. Need I say that going downhill is the part of hiking I hate? People, I’m afraid I’ll trip and roll down the mountain (in this case – a hill) and die (melodramatic-I know). R. reminds me to take slow, easy steps and I make it to the bottom alive and all in one piece.

And at the bottom is a gallery with this mosaic wall glistening in the sunlight. The bus parked in back is also covered with mosaic tile. Love all the creatures on the hood (see picture below). Maybe R. and I will buy a bus and create our own masterpiece on wheels. Just a thought.

I want to check out the interesting gallery, but we don’t have enough time.

We have a boat to catch for a dinner cruise and we’re starving. The Spirit is supposed to take off at 7:00, but for some reason it’s delayed. At 7:15 we find out why. A wedding took place on the upper deck and we’re invited to take part in the couple’s wedding reception. What a surprise!!!

An evening to remember – fabulous food, dancing the night away and a spectacular sunset.

Better scoot for now, but talk to all of you next week in another Back East Bloglog.

Love ya,

PS: And I promise no more mention of pitstops or pitfalls in the upcoming blogs. . .Yeah right, nettie - who are you trying to kid?

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Does anyone know what these three things have in common? If you said Pennsylvania – you’d be absolutely right. R. and I are on the road again. This time heading to find all three.

Frederick, Maryland is our first stop – OR NOT – with me behind the wheel. I flat miss the exit (R. informs me as we sail by our intended turn-off).

“I didn’t see the sign,” I tell him.

Silence fills the air. I’m sure R. is either satisfied with my answer (highly unlikely) or so stunned, he’s finding it hard to respond.

Before he can formulate words, I add. “I don’t look at signs. I just drive. Half the time I don’t even know what the speed limit is.”

Laughter erupts from the passenger seat.

“What’s so funny?”

“That explains so much about your driving and why you don’t drive in Houston. You COULD get lost and never be found.”

Oh HA!! HA!!!

Since I missed Frederick, R. directs me to our next stop – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We locate the Visitor’s Center and they offer a couple of tours for us to choose from. We decide to go on a self-guided one (yes, R. is driving).

With map in hand, we take off. The barn in the picture below is #1 on the tour and where the Civil War began.

R. takes his time driving through the tour and pulls off at the different statues along the way.

This one depicts the men who fought from North Carolina.

This is The Valley of Death

This is for the Pennsylvania regiment. Elaborate with statues of men standing at attention on all four sides (one we recognize as Abraham Lincoln)

Our visit to Gettysburg put a face on the Civil War for me and I’m ashamed as to how lightly I’ve taken it through the years. Maybe the appreciation of history is finally sinking into this head of mine. Guess it’s about time.

While R. and I are learning about the battles, the ‘kids’ are clamoring about our next stop. I try to shush them, but Randy is almost beside himself.

“Can you guys hurry up? The place is going to close before we get there,” the little bear growls (oh, I mean says).

If you’re wondering what he’s referring to – it’s Hershey, Pennsylvania. Home of the:

As we park at Hershey’s Chocolate World and get out, I thought Ray and Randy would faint from the aroma surrounding us. Trust me I have to hold their hands or they’d take off and Hazel and I would find them head-first in a vat of chocolate.

We’re not a foot in the door and R. stops and buys all of us a goody for our walk around the facility. People, I’ve never seen so much candy in one spot. And they came in every shape and size imaginable, too. I think the boys (R. and R.) thought they’d died and gone to heaven.

At 3:30 we go out and catch the Hershey Trolley. All of us enjoy the trolley ride around the town that Milton S. Hershey established back in 1903. The guides tell the history of how milk chocolate got it start and gives out samples we can savor along the way.

As they show us the Hershey grounds, the tour guides point out the plant where the chocolate (and other goodies) are made. There is also a huge amusement park, concert venue and a rose garden which Mr. Hershey gave to his wife many years ago on the property located next to Chocolate World.

Red Rose Motel - Our day ends in the quiet town of Rheem, Pennsylvania at the Red Rose Motel. Cozy little cabin, comfortable bed and cool breezes blowing through the window. Dreams of sugar plums – oh I mean chocolate dancing in all of our heads.

This morning the family is on the road to Lancaster County – Amish country and I can’t wait. As a quilt lover, these stops excite me as much as the chocolate did the boys yesterday.

We see our first horse and buggy and I’m transported back in time. I look over and see the Log Cabin Quilt Shop and the most magnificent quilt I’ve ever seen. I instruct R. to pull in as fast as he can (but warn him to be careful not to run the Amish family down).

I marvel at the black and white quilt hanging by the front door (which you can't really see in the photo-sorry). Every part of my being wants the beautiful masterpiece, but I don’t buy it. I purchase a wall hanging with the same pattern. Yes, I’m selling my house with the black and white bathroom, but who says I won’t use black and white to decorate my next place.

Amish hospitality and workmanship welcome us into every store we browse through. R. finds another walking stick and buys it. We are getting quite a collection.

On our way back to Herndon, R. drives. I’m navigating us through the back roads of Pennsylvania and Maryland – and NOT doing such a fine job, I might add. But I have to come to my own defense – PA or MD don’t waste their tax dollars on road signs (I'm being a bit snide). At one point I think R. thought we were lost and never going to be found. Thankfully a neighborly gentleman (and a cop) gave us directions and we were on the road again.

Until next time – love ya!!!!


PS: I hope you’re enjoying the PS’s as much as I am – today is a doozer. Some of you are aware that there is a town in Lancaster County called Intercourse. Yes, you read that right. Oh, how I wanted to mention it, but didn’t know how to tactfully. Mr. R. found the perfect solution – a street sign announcing an OB/GYN conference. Priceless!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I’m sorry I’ve started the last two blogs out with complaining, but my feet DO hurt!!! That’s because we're on the road again in Washington, D.C. I know I wrote about it in an earlier blog, but this one’s sooooo much better. The ‘kids’ got out of the car this time and into the action.

And as always, our road trips can’t start without the signature song or a mishap (you should know that by now). Humor me while I share an important discovery – I shouldn’t be allowed to drink coffee on road trips (do we sense a reoccurring theme here-HA!). Anyway, R. finds us a parking spot and we rush to the nearest restroom, which is at the Jefferson Memorial.

People, Elvis could have been belting out Can’t Help Falling in Love on the steps and I would have whipped by him with barely a nod - that’s how desperate I was (TMI).

Oh, darn it, I just thought of another funny. This one happens in the bathroom. I lay my stylish little number (remember previous blog with my umbrella) on the side of the sink and put my hand under the faucet – it automatically comes on and my purse falls into the sink and gets soaked before I can retrieve it (no need to ask why I’m a writer, stories just happen when I’m around)

Anyway, we leave Jefferson behind and go to the Washington Monument. I can’t believe I’m standing next to something I’ve only dreamt of seeing. The granite exterior glistens in the morning sun and seems so much taller than I imagined. As we turn to leave I catch a glimpse of the White House in the distance. Amazing!

From there we find the Visitor’s Center and the woman gives us a detailed map of the area and our trek around DC continues. Next stop the Renwick Gallery. And you’ll never believe, but the security beeper goes off again. R., do you have to get so up-close-and-personal with the outlandish fish?

The White House looms in front of us and lots of people (some protesters) stand outside the fence. The ‘kids’ ask if they can get their picture taken with the Obama girls, but I tell them they have to settle with one with their dad.

I put the 'kids' away on the way to the next monument. This memorial is the one and only reason I’ve always wanted to visit Washington, DC.

I find their names in the book and we head to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The black granite walls etched with of thousands of names – one name I knew, another from my hometown overwhelms me. Tears spill down my cheeks at the sight of so many lives lost.

James Caniford dated my sister Debbie. Six months later he went over to Vietnam. His plane was shot down and they classified him as missing in action. As a teenager I wore the bracelet with his name on it and held out hope they’d find him. Last year they did – a single tooth found identified him. They brought him home and he is buried at Arlington Cemetery. On another day R. and I will go see if we can find his grave.

Gerald O'Connor is the other name I look up on the wall. I don't know him, but he and his family are a part of my life. The O'Connor family lived in Herington, Kansas and I graduated with one of his brothers.

Thank you both for your sacrifice for your country – and may you rest in peace!!!!

I thought this a fitting way to end for today’s blog. The inscription on the statue reads: What is past is prologue.

Profound words!

The people immortalized in the monuments R. and I saw today began our story – now it’s our responsibility to carry their message of hope to future generations.

Love ya,

PS: As we walked to the car I caught sight of a bus and couldn’t help taking a picture of what was written on the side. This word describes it all.

My feet hurt, but my heart feels so very blessed. I knew we’d walked on hallowed ground.

Monday, June 15, 2009


My head hurts because of all the history I’m taking in on our travels through Virginia and beyond. And today’s destination (Colonial Williamsburg) fills it up even more.

As with all the other blogs, I have to start out with a story. Mapquest informs us it’s only a three hour drive from doorstep to lamp post, but with R. and I - trips sometimes take on a mind of their own. After going 15 miles out of our way - we find out one should put the exact address in for where one is leaving from OR getting to where one is going take one a tab longer than planned.

But we get to Colonial Williamsburg with plenty of daylight to spare. Signs point to the Visitor’s Center and we pay admission to see the sights, but first there’s a movie they want us to watch. The woman says Jack Lord stars in the film (for those of you who don't remember him - he's the HUNK from Hawaii 50 and always said, "Book 'em Danno" in the coolest sort of way).

Unfortunately, my honey (Mr. Lord, that is) didn’t cause my heart to do its usual pitter patter. Instead, I want to laugh when he appears on screen because he’s wearing a mauve (I’m being kind-it’s pink) suit coat and trousers, and he’s sportin’ a ponytail. So much for swooning after him today.

Next stop is the Governor’s Palace. A guide (dressed in period clothing) takes us through the enormous home. It’s beautiful, but I thought the colors choices were interesting (and ugly) in the dining area, but the molding around the doors and windows – stunning.

We tour the shops in and around Colonial Williamsburg (and there’s lots of them). About 3:00 o'clock we decide we're starving and start our trek up and down and back up and back down Duke of Gloucester Street looking for something to eat.

Unbeknownst to us - the historic eateries all close at 1:30 to start preparing for dinner (which starts at 5:00). Seems kind of strange it would take them 3 ½ hours to get things ready, but that’s what the sign says. Hot, tired and hungry, we trudge to the main street and find a small sandwich shop and devour a belated lunch and some much needed shade.

Refreshed, we leave the quaint community behind and we're on the road again. This time to Norfolk, Virginia (only 60 miles away). As we near our destination, imagine our surprise when the last three miles of the journey includes a tunnel – or I should say an UNDER WATER byway (no photos taken here ‘cause I’m too freaked out and if you think I’m kidding ask R.)

He assures me we’re not going to die or drown and I feel much better. We find a place to stay near the water and settle in for the night (that is, after more nourishment - just in case everything closes down early).

Then it's off to bed we go! Tomorrow's another day of seeing the sights.

Morning brings sunshine and blue skies and a walk on the beach. Can't miss
out on collecting seashells from the seashore.

Here is where we buys tickets for a special boat ride. R., me and the 'kids' get on board of the Victory Rover Naval Base Cruise. The captain takes us out and along the way he gives us a bird's eye view of the seaport, world’s largest naval base (home of the Atlantic Fleet: Destroyers, Guided Missile Cruisers, Submarines and more (yes, the last sentence was from their brochure-couldn’t have said it better myself).

The captain rattles off the names of the ships, their weight and cost faster than a gunner could shoot off a round of ammunition at the enemy (I hope I have this lingo right). Every ship we passed seems enormous, but then the crown jewels of the Navy fleet came into view - the aircraft carriers.

I know the women quit reading a while back, but I know I've got the men's attention. These monsters impressed the socks right off of me. I can't believe they house 6,000 Navy personnel. The captain said they're floating cities, decked out with a movie theatre, fast food restaurant, stores. All the comforts of home.

Hey, guys, I’ve got an idea - if you have some loose change lying around, you can pick one of these babies up for around $8 BILLION DOLLARS. It’d be great! You’d be the first on your block to own one. HA!!

The captain and his crew announce our cruise is finished. Guess it’s time to head back to Herndon to plan our next adventure. I wonder where we’ll go???

Love ya,

PS: Had to leave you with a funny. They follow us wherever we go and this one brought a definite chuckle. My Texas friends will totally understand this person's thinking!!!! Gotta love ingenuity.