Hello Everyone,

January 13, 2005
It's been quite some time since our last update. For that, I apologize. I have the best of intentions (and we all know what they say about those), but this little chore just keeps getting bumped down the "to-do" list. So, what better time to catch everyone up on the recent happenings than sitting on a Phoenix bound plane with a broken movie projection system! Instead of wasting an hour and a half watching some inane drivel…I will write some!

Walter Ray and I had a great summer. We went on our first cruise (and our second and third). It was a lot of fun for me. I think Walter Ray had "technology withdrawal" without a functioning cell phone or internet connection. He was able to avail himself of some time in the ship's "internet café". However, buying time isn't inexpensive. You don't feel too bad buying enough for a quick check of your email, but you aren't just going to sit around web surfing. I was content to spend ship time on the sun deck with something fruity to drink and did more than my fair share to help out the local economies of the ports we visited.

Our second cruise was a bit of a fluke. It was one of those "friend of a friend" deals with the opportunity to go on weeklong cruise to Alaska for a price that was too good to pass up. We went with our fabulous Southern Regional Director Harry O'Neale and his beautiful wife Gloria. Their adorable granddaughter Abbey was also able to join us. We sure had a great time. Our passage was very inexpensive, but the "shore excursions" weren't. I thought it was worth it though. We went on a helicopter ride over the glacier ice fields and took a small boat up to where the glaciers meet the water. It was truly KEWL! We spent most every night hanging out in one of the lounges listening to friends of Harry & Gloria's that were performing on the ship. They are called "Twice as Nice" and they were fabulous entertainers and two of the sweetest people we have met in a long time. Miss Abbey is quite the little dancer!

There was some excitement on our last cruise because that was when hurricane Frances came to Florida and they closed the port. We couldn't come home. Oh darn an extra 3 days at sea for free. The captain kept us far enough away from the storm that our weather was still good, so we just went around in circles. There was plenty of food (the crew said they had food for 15 days and it only started out a 4 day cruise), but fresh water became a little bit of an issue. Towards the end they stopped washing towels and sheets, but it was really not a big deal. There were really only two small problems for us. First of all, we were supposed to come home on a Saturday and didn't come home until the following Tuesday. Walter Ray was supposed to leave for Japan on that Wednesday. He made his flight...but managed to miss the entire cleanup. He is so lucky! Which brings us to the second issue. My parents went with us on this cruise and Daddy wasn't exactly thrilled about it to start with. Those extra days going around in circles in the gulf were excruciatingly boring for him. I felt so bad!

When Daddy was finally able to get off the boat, he got to help me cleanup the mess at our house. Our community has a lot of trees (fewer now) and we were fortunate that nothing hit our house. We ended up with the power being out for about 10 days and a brush pile higher than my head and as large as 3 cars! I had been meaning to throw out everything in the fridge and give it a good cleaning anyway. Another thing off the "to-do" list! Since we have a well, when the power is out we have no water. I spent several days with my parents who live in a newer community with no 100-year-old live oaks and underground utilities!

Beyond those little adventures we just did "regular stuff". Walter Ray spent time going to horseshoe tournaments and some exhibitions and playing golf every day he was home that it wasn't pouring down rain. We spent time with friends and family. I worked on stuff, caught up on projects I had been putting off and some reading and even played a little golf myself.

We were both extremely interested and curious about the 2004-05 PBA season. With all the changes that were going into effect it was with great anticipation that we set out for the first part of the season. We were very fortunate that even with the new format Walter Ray continued to bowl well. He made three shows and was able to win a title, which gets him to within one of the great Earl Anthony's record 41 PBA wins. He had a chance in Medford to tie the record. That would have been incredible, since the tournament was named for the very man whose record he is chasing. It wasn't meant to be on that day, hopefully he will have another chance before too long. It may have been for the best though…the PBA message boards would have been disabled due to the overwhelming number of threads about the "conspiracy" to "set it up" for Walter Ray to win! Seriously though, Walter Ray and I both feel that even if he is able to tie Earl's record…Earl is still the greatest! Always will be!

As I am sure most of you have heard by now, the format will be changing again for the second half of the season. There will be qualifying for all 64 bowlers on Thursday with a cut to 32 that night. Friday will be elimination matches again just like the first half of the season. The new (or old depending on how you look at it) format will give the fans a chance to see all of the bowlers all day on Thursday, instead of them only bowling one match in either the morning or evening session. Should be interesting….ask me in twelve tournaments if I like it! lol

After the last week in Fountain Valley we spent a few extra days in Southern California to visit with Walter Ray's family. Most all of them were able to get there, all six of his brothers and sisters made it! Of course his Mom was there happy to have all of her kids together, if only for a few days. PBA Champion Rick Lawrence and his family joined us also since they were staying down there over the break. We all went to Universal Studios and Knott's Berry Farm. I rediscovered how much I love roller coasters! Walter Ray rediscovered that he easily he gets motion sickness! He spent most of the day holding our jackets and sunglasses while Rick's daughter Kayla and I rode coasters with squeals of delight! Kayla is fearless and we had a great time.

After a short trip to Arizona we abandoned the motorhome and took a flight to Orlando for a little Christmas vacation. We spent the holidays with my parents, Walter Ray's Dad and some good friends. We ate like pigs and must have been really good based on the number of presents Santa brought us. December 27th we took a trip up to Chattanooga to visit my grandparents and have a little bit of "family reunion" with some of my Daddy's relatives. We came home on December 30th with a few quick stops at the outlet malls near Atlanta!

Which brings us back to where I started…on a plane to Arizona. Going back out for the second half of the season. Wow, amazing how I did that isn't it?

I will try to be a little better about updates this half of the season…so keep an eye out for them. I have appreciated all of the "gentle reminder" emails that I got the first half of the year. *smile* It's nice to know that someone is actually reading this stuff!

CYA Later

P.S. This one is dedicated to my friend Corey who has no life!

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