Monday, February 28, 2011

The Awful Thud

Little Harley the puppy dog reminded me that it had been a very long time in doggy days, since he had a new toy.  I thought about it, and sure enough, it's been two months since we came home with "the girlfriend".  She was a cute fluffy pink stuffed puppy, bought for the princely sum of $1. (Puppy gets $1 a month to spend any which way he chooses.)

For weeks, he loved her, cuddled with her, chased her, played tug a war and toss with her.  Then one day, they got really rough, while I wasn't around.  The girlfriend lost all her stuffing. His pet parent (aka me) had to pick up bits of fluff all over the motorhome. He continues to play with his now anorexic girlfriend, from time to time, but she doesn't look near as cute as she did before. 

Just goes to show, we all look better with a little extra padding. 

So I guess it was time for his allowance again. January's $1 went on the pink girlfriend at the beginning of the year. So I handed him February's $1, suggesting  he buy the most indestructible toy possible. Naturally he simply chose the largest toy his money could buy. 

Boys are like that. 

From the warning labels on the toy, it's clear the label was intended for sale in the USA, land of litigation, in spite of it being manufactured in China. I wonder if it's possible to buy much of anything made in America anymore. Frivolous litigation has driven so many businesses overseas.  But I digress...

From the label:
"It is recommended that pets be supervised when playing with all toys. Proper supervision should prevent accidental swallowing of this toy. The product should be inspected periodically to ensure that it is not damaged. Do not permit your pet to continue playing with this toy if it is chewed, broken, or damaged."
Little Harley carries his new toy home.. 

Well, let's see, he can't possibly swallow this toy. He can barely fit it in his mouth at all. If there had been any larger toys in his $1 budget, he would have bought something the same size as him. 

The last sentence of the warnings, had me laughing really long and hard. If I discarded all his toys that were "chewed, broken or damaged"  then he wouldn't have anything left to play with (except, perhaps his private parts...)
They wanted to go all out on naming this toy!
I am trying to convince puppy that this is an indoor toy. Sure it matches the forest perfectly (making it really easy to lose). Once a toy makes it outside, it seems to really take a beating. He has been known to drag his toys through the mud, then roll it in pine needles, as well as sometimes attempt to drown them. 

When we were parked lakeside in Michigan at Haas Lake Park, he would grab a toy, shaking it furiously, then fling it in the lake. When he found out his pet parent wasn't fetching them out of the lake on his behalf, he would gingerly swim after it, bring it back, then rush up to show off, while shaking his wet self all over me.  Even worse, if he managed to run inside the motorhome before I snagged him with a towel, he would merrily track up the floor with wet paw prints. 


I am so glad we ripped the wall-to-wall carpet out, replacing it with vinyl tiles. Having a puppy, is like having a toddler around. They're clumsy. They  make huge messes.  They communicate strangely.  Pooping and peeing are favorite pastimes as well as endless play and curiosity. One day they're picky about food, the next you're feeding a bottomless tummy.

If they have a boo-boo, they require a good bit of consoling before they are happy again.

I remember I had barely had my puppy a week, when we moved to a new camp in Lake Placid, Florida called Sunshine Resort. I tethered him outside, so he could watch me put the awning out, hook up the utilities and so on. Something I did spooked him, causing him to jump, hitting his little head on the hard metal step of the motorhome. 

I heard the awful thud. 

He cried loud and long, sounding more like a baby than a canine. I dropped what I was doing, scooped him up, then spent the next hour comforting him. This entailed cuddling him, whispering sweetly to him, rubbing his tiny head, hugging him and doing all I could to sooth his boo-boo. He stopped crying but wanted me to continue to comfort him. I was so worried he had a serious injury, but had no idea what could be done for him. It occurred to me, how tiny he was, barely 4 pounds.  I was used to big robust dogs, not these teensy bits of imitation dog. Luckily nothing swelled up.

However,  the fur on his silly little head turned gray. He had a similar patch on his back when I adopted him, but it eventually turned to shades of brown. Someone said it was an indication of stress or emotional trauma. I did some research. Sure enough this can happen to humans and canines, temporary gray hair or fur, due to serious physical of psychological stress.  So when his head fur turned gray next,  I was more than a bit concerned. I prayed my tiny darling didn't have brain damage. It's bad enough I have head trauma, but my baby too?  

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blast Off To Parts Unknown

Looks like we skipped a day or so posting. Wolfman Harley (puppy) and I were under the weather. But, we saw the space shuttle launch, yippee!

Actually, we were in jail.  Oops!  (That's enough to seriously put one under the weather...)

I felt the earth rumble when the engines started, but that was it, no more earthquake type rock and roll.  I guess we were  far enough away to avoid that. 

Taken from the back of the police car.  (Traffic was so thick, it took hours for them to get us locked up.)
My scientific explanations.

I guess the astronauts on board were new at this steering, or maybe the humanoid was at the wheel.

Like Magic!  The Discovery Shuttle was GONE!
By the way I submitted my carefully captioned pictures and article to the AP wires.
They sent back a two word email "You're crazy!"
My feelings were deeply hurt.
Puppy is insulted we didn't get paid, he wanted a new Frisbee and a Golf Ball out of the deal.

Earlier in the day we walked down to highway US 1 to snap this picture.
See how far away we were?
So doggy and I hiked on over to NASA, scaled the barbed wire fence,
and took a picture of the control box!
Um, then we were arrested...

I had a much closer picture of the control box, so you could clearly read the labels, but it was confiscated when we were arrested. 
Luckily, I had hidden the other pictures, so we still have these few. 
Wolfman Harley, thinks his mug shot makes him look older than his tender years. 
So...   after we escaped  left the jail, we hightailed it back to the motorhome, then hit the road for parts unknown. 
See, Wolfman Harley needed to go outside to water a few bushes. 
So the jailer let me walk him outside. 
And we just kept walking.  (Ran like hell is more like it!)
We saw a guy painting a house, we told him it looked pretty. 
He thanked us, then hopped in his work van to go to lunch. 
We stole  borrowed a gallon of his house paint to repaint the motorhome. 
It's Robin Egg Shell Blue. Not my favorite color, but it will have to do. 
Meanwhile puppy dog has peroxided his fur, so he is blond now. 
He doesn't want to look like his mug shot. 
Oh, and PLEASE  send money (contributions) for lawyers.  
Paypal info listed below.  :)
Puppy thinks we should plead temporary insanity, but he wants his own lawyer and a guardian ad libitum, just to be safe.  
Dissension in the ranks?
Thank you, any contribution will do, pennies, dollars, whatever you can spare. 
Puppy dog is especially worried, he's heard  of arrested animals that are killed for their crimes. 

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Thursday, February 24, 2011


I still often feel like an alien in America. Nearly half my current life span was spent either working  on yachts at sea,  or on tiny islands in the Caribbean.

Last June, when my motorhome brake caliper seized up, sending off the fire alarms, I thought like a seasoned sailor. I grabbed the puppy, a bottle of water and my passport.

Can you imagine if my motorhome had really burned up?  There I would be on the side of the road, hitchhiking with puppy and a passport. More than likely, I would have hitched towards the nearest seafaring port, looking for a  crew position aboard something headed back to the Caribbean, or perhaps parts unknown.

E.T. phone home!  Some days, I feel like I belong somewhere else. 

Luckily, there was no fire, I stopped in time, got help, so I was spared the ordeal. Thank goodness. My home burned down to the ground in 1976, surely it couldn't happen twice in a lifetime?

I remember the Highway Patrolman staring at me oddly.  I had no pockets in my dress, so my passport was stuck in my bra, but the blue cover was conspicuously peeking out of the top of my dress.  I'm sure he had no idea what THAT was about.  You would have to be an intrepid traveler to get it.

I keep forgetting I am in America, land of plenty, land of excess, land of human herds. 

I feel like I am constantly being pushed to follow or lead but heavily discouraged from beating my own drum. But off I go, merrily following the rhythm of a drummer, that apparently, only I can hear, way off key, down a path that isn't really a path at all, just wilderness, yet to be explored.

Awhile back, a friend, who also spent decades on boats in far flung ports, joined me on a camping journey. We knew the first campground we had chosen was over 30 miles from a grocery store. To a couple of slow sailboat sailors, that's a pretty fair distance. 

I know, laugh!  It sounds so absurd!

We both love fresh produce and real cheeses.  Maybe we overdid it, when we went shopping, as if the stores may run out of inventory before we could return. 

Two islanders.  Clueless.

I am an experienced charter yacht chef. I know how to take a tiny refrigerator and pack it full of fresh foods. Where other's say "Can't be done", I say "Oh I probably can and will."

So while my friend and I were happily tossing in veggies, fruits, cheeses and a minuscule token amount of meat into the shopping cart, he remarked, "Where are you going to put all this stuff?  We better get a cooler for the overflow."

I assured him it would all fit in my little motorhome refrigerator.

When we got back to the RV, I showed him where the few cans and boxes we bought would go, letting him put those away, while I filled up the refrigerator. I also tossed a woven basket at him, to top up with potatoes and onions plus another for fruits that didn't need to be refrigerated.

He kept shaking his head, murmuring "We really need to get a cooler for the extra food."

A few minutes later, I said "Tada!"  closing the refrigerator and putting away the empty plastic grocery bags, to be recycled as garbage bags.

"See?  It all fit in the refrigerator!"

Indeed it did.  I even took a picture, because it was the first time my little refrigerator had resembled a small grocery store. My traveling friend, loves to eat, I like to cook, so needless to say, we ate very well.  Nearly every fruit and veggie in the produce department is represented here along with an assortment of cheeses, a few meats and assorted condiments. There was even room for regular milk, soy milk and the iced tea pitcher.

It pays to measure. 

In the picture, there are three rectangular plastic baskets. I found these super cheap in a bargain store months ago. The measurements indicated they would fit on 3 of my refrigerator shelves.  I shop with a tape measure, pen and paper. When I'm organized, which is mostly.  

More or less.

As you can readily see, these baskets, help stash a lot more foods.  Also, when you open the fridge after bouncing down a potholed road, there is less, to likely fall on the toes.

I've learned to carefully open the refrigerator, very slowly, after a rough trip, with my tootsies out of the way of potential falling objects.

In the Caribbean, the fresh foods can vary widely. A few charter yacht chefs can sometimes clean out the entire produce section of a store. So I was accustomed to stocking up when the foods are in, for fear that next time you shop, they might be gone.  On a little island, you might wait days or weeks, for the boat to come in again, bearing fresh goods.

In America, I keep forgetting, it's land of the plenty.  The grocery stores are always full it seems. Of course, I am also sadly dismayed, that about 80% of most grocery stores are devoted to what I call junk foods. Stuff with virtually no redeeming nutritional value, or stuffed full of chemicals and a variety of sugars.  Some are outright fakes. What is "Non Dairy" creamer?  Why are there so many "imitation" foods like imitation bacon bits or imitation vanilla extract?

Researching imitation vanilla, I found interesting information. One chef claimed imitation vanilla is a byproduct of the paper industry or is derived from coal tar.   Another claimed imitation vanilla is manufactured either from clove oil (eugenol) or as a breakdown product of lignin from a conifer (e.g., spruce, Picea).

Small wonder so many people are on numerous drugs to get well, their bodies are starving for serious good old fashioned nutrition.

It's so hard to find good healthy foods.  Even the produce, may have chemicals if it's not organic.  Washing may remove some but maybe not all of the chemicals.  The more labels I read, the less I buy.  Sure, I have my cravings and sometimes just throw something in the cart without reading the label because I simply want it. But that is becoming rarer. 

Recently, while shopping, I heard a woman talking to herself in the produce department.  "What?  Bell peppers on sale?  Yippee!  Blueberries?  A dollar off?  I'll have two packages!"  I immediately felt a kindred spirit, I almost wanted to go over and introduce myself.

But hey, all those bad foods full of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup, well, this deteriorates good health, keeping all the big drug companies making loads of money.  

I just don't want to support the drug pushers. Give me herbs, give me fruits, give me veggies, but keep your chemicals and crap out of my body.

That is so much easier said than done!  

But I am happy, my healthy eating style has drastically improved my own health. My body may refuse to give up one ounce of fat, but everyday I feel stronger.  I just have to walk the dog faster and longer, more often.

Like I might just survive. What a thought!  

It's my goal to make liars out of my past doctors.  They predicted such gloom and doom for me. I may be saddled with a nasty bank and high payments to cover my old medical debts, but hey, I'm alive. And I'm paying dearly for that.

Well, as part of my healthy lifestyle, it's time to go for a walk. Many times I would love to talk myself out of walking, saying I have so many other things I seriously need to do. But then there is puppy, he needs his walks, and so do I.

I think about all the time wasted in hospitals and waiting on doctors.  I'd rather spend that time walking  in the present, than later, being at the mercy of the medical community and the drug pushers. 

I used to think drug pushers were those shady characters on dark corners, now they're brazen corporations.  

Heaven help me. 

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Full Remission

When all is said and done, all you can really change is your attitude. 

I've been working hard at  trying to develop what I call my "Teflon Shield" so that bad vibes don't stick to me and negative comments slide off along with pessimistic emotions.  

Generally I am an upbeat person, trying to remain calm and positive. There are people, who probably can't help it, but they heap negativity at themselves and those around them. Sidestepping these people can sometimes be a problem, some just want to get right in your face because they're not happy until you're not happy. 

I have one friend who often says "Gee, you sound great over the phone, everything must be going fine for you!"  I think to myself, if she only knew how close I am to falling off the tightrope I am navigating each day, just one breath away from falling. I pretend there is a safety net, walking confidently, but somehow I know, deep down inside, there is no netting at all. But maybe if I just convince myself there is safety netting, walking confidently along the high thin wire, I won't fall at all, but eventually make it to safety, on the other side. 

Recently I was thinking about friends who suddenly announced they were in "full remission" from their fatal disease. We all cheered and rallied around them, marveling at the miracle, only to watch them drop dead shortly thereafter, then finding out there was NO remission at all.

I've seen this phenomenon happen twice to me. One was a lady I went on vacation with to celebrate her birthday. Matter of fact, eight of us went to celebrate her birthday and remission.  It was a hastily planned trip, but, 900 miles away,  her birthday was celebrated in the Florida Keys aboard a chartered sailboat with 8 of her close friends.  She died less than a week later,  after we all returned home. Her bereaved husband let us know, there was no remission. She made it all up.  

So often when things are bad or people are sick, we tend to avoid them all together. Sick people notice this.  So to regain their friends, they sometimes announce they are in full remission, even though it's just a false hope for all concerned. Maybe it's just a liferaft to cling to. Hoping for rescue in a vast lonely sea. 

When I lived in St John in the Virgin Islands, I was rebuilding my sailboat in the harbor, at anchor. To combat loneliness, I often visited "table one" at a favorite watering hole.  Table one was a transient table that sat 6-10 people, depending on how many we could crowd around it. You could sit there alone, but with others, and not have to eat alone.  You could meet old cronies and make new friends.  It was a fun table and the staff of the restaurant always made sure that "table one" was never given away to tourists or large groups. 

One day, over lunch, at table one, I met an old man who was visiting his cousin who had to work construction all day. He was simply ambling about town, looking for something to do, just enjoying the tropical weather and scenery. He was having trouble with his arms and hands. He claimed to be recuperating from cancer, announcing that since he was now in full remission, he had come to the Caribbean to enjoy a much needed vacation. 

Many warm afternoons, after lunch, I took my small motorized dinghy out of the noisy harbor, which shared traffic with large passenger ferries and small freighters, to another bay where there was an unspoiled gorgeous sandy beach with crystal clear waters. It could only be reached by a long hike, or by dinghy. Because of this remoteness, it was popular for the clothing-optional enthusiasts. 

Indeed, I had become accustomed to going topless there, wearing only a G-string.  I knew many of the beach goers anyhow, they were my neighbors in the harbor, also living aboard their boats at anchor, as this harbor had no marina. We were a fairly closeknit community. Maybe because once you've seen all your neighbors naked, you feel  more relaxed around them, yet there is an intimacy, that makes you want to jump up and help them or rally around, anytime they needed help. 

I knew the old man's younger cousin, he was a good sort. The man himself was about 30 years my senior, as well as his young cousin's.  He seemed open and honest, harmless enough, he was underweight by about 20%, trying to keep himself entertained until his cousin got off work.  I had finished my lunch, at table one.  I was off work for the whole week, as back then I did yacht charters, working 16 hour days, for weeks at a time, so I often simply relaxed when I finally had a few days off to recuperate mind and body before the next big charter assignment. 

So I invited him to ride in my dinghy to the beach after asking him if he would be offended by the clothing-optional nature of the beach. He laughed and said "Why no, then I won't have to waste money on buying a bathing suit!"

So for the next week, he was my passenger each afternoon, as we went to the beach.  He marveled that swimming would help build up his stamina again, but he was often very weak.  Besides swimming, I often laid in the shade of a palm tree reading a book.  He often napped between brief swimmings. About a half hour before his cousin was due back from work, we would shake the sand off, get dressed, then head back in my slow little dinghy to the other harbor. I would drop him ashore, but he always wanted me to come have a drink with him, as he met his cousin in a bar each afternoon, after work. So most days, I went to happy hour with them too. 

One night while drinking with  the cousins, the younger cousin followed me to the restroom, to speak with me in private, away from the older man. He said he really appreciated me taking his cousin to the beach each day.  I told him I was happy to have the company along, it was no big deal. 

Eventually it was time for the older man to fly home again, and for me to leave on my next charter.  I was going out on an 80 foot sailing yacht to cook and provide gourmet meals to 8 passengers and 4 crew. I also helped sail the yacht, plus my evenings were spent as the dinghy captain, ferrying the guests ashore to party or dance or both. 

About ten days later, I came home again to my little sailboat. In town, that  evening I ran into the younger cousin, asking him how the older fellow was doing, as he had flown home to the United States, about the same time I left on charter. He told me how much his cousin enjoyed those lazy afternoons at the idyllic beach, how he had quickly made friends with the other beach goers, how he looked forward to me coming into town each afternoon to offer him a ride to the beach. He was almost embarrassing me, as he laid on the "thank-you's" really thick. All I had done was offer him a ride each afternoon, which he had graciously accepted. It seemed odd, to be receiving these numerous thank-you's from the younger man. 

He went on about how he called up north, after his cousin flew home, to make sure he had made it alright. He said his cousin just kept talking about those wonderful afternoons at the tropical beach, the freedom and nonsense, of swimming naked, at his advanced age, that it truly was the highlight of his trip to the islands. He said he was going to buy another ticket, to come back down to the islands, after he took care of some of his affairs. 

He went on to explain how his relatives didn't want his cousin to come down to the Caribbean, to start with, because he was so sick and weak. One day he came out of the doctor's office, announced he was in full remission, and by golly, he was buying a ticket to the Caribbean to celebrate with his young cousin who lived there. His family had little choice, but to let him go. 

I laughed, telling the cousin, isn't it funny how quickly we become hooked on the Caribbean and wasn't it wonderful his cousin was in full remission and had chose St John to come celebrate.

At this point, my friend's face clouded over.  He looked down at his beer bottle, squeezing his eyes shut tightly. He took a long deep breath. 

Maybe a full minute later, he opened his eyes, which were now rather moist as he told me in a near whisper "I'm sorry, he wasn't in full remission at all. He died less than 48 hours after leaving here.  We just found out, from his autopsy and doctors, that he wasn't in remission at all. He just said that, so he could come on vacation down here, without everyone giving him grief that he was too sick to travel."

I sat there stunned. Finally my manners came back to me, as I grabbed my friend, giving him a long tight hug, telling him how sorry I was.  My friend regained his composure. "Don't be sorry, he died a happy man. He got his final wish, to visit the Caribbean, and those trips to the beach were all he talked about every evening when I got off work.  I think he lied about the remission because I think he just wanted everyone to stop treating him like a sick old man."  

When all is said and done, all you can really change is your attitude. 

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grawn Greeting

Grawn.  My word for gray dawn. For anyone that has read my writings much, you know I often mash up words to make my own. It drives my spell heckler crazy.

This foggy picture gives you an idea of the fog that is lifting.
The tree in the foreground is less than 100 feet in front of the
tree in the background. 

A dense fog envelopes the dawn. Instead of a sunrise, we have an unsettling gray haze. The train whistle of a passing locomotive sounds eerie.  It's ghoulish sound lends an ethereal otherworldliness to the quiet hush of this Sunday morn.

I step outside to snap a picture. I leave the door open, but before stepping out, I give puppy, who is ensconced in his cat bed, the "stay" command.

He dutifully climbs out of his lair to come see what I am up to, but while taking pictures, I tell him to stay. The door is wide open, he doesn't have to obey me, but I am trying much harder each day to work on his training.

I hear a thump behind me. I turn to look, puppy is gone. I step back inside, to learn the thump was him springing himself off the floor to my bed, back to the corner, where his little fleece lined cat bed is parked on top of my electric mattress warmer. We used it last night, like we do any night the temperatures drop below 65F (18C) degrees. It is still on, I don't turn it off until puppy arises.

Go ahead and laugh. My Caribbean blood is still trying to adjust to weather temperatures below 70F (21C). My scrawny puppy gets cold easily. Like me. Something odd, we have in common.

I smile. Puppy obeyed me,  deciding he was cold, went back to bed. He often sleeps one or two hours longer than I do.

Petting his head, rubbing his belly, I reward him for being a good little doggy. He looks cold, so I toss part of the afghan over him.  He seems pleased. Even though he seemingly hates the camera, I capture a photo of him, wrapped in the afghan.

Little Wolfman Harley, enjoys the warmth of being
snuggled in his bed with the afghan piled up over him.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spaced Out on the Spacecoast

They nickname this part of Florida, the Spacecoast because of NASA. Well, I just found out I am in a prime spot for seeing the next shuttle launch, actually the last blast off of  the Discovery, which first shot into space on August 30, 1984. 

Tentative Schedule:

Date: Feb. 24 
Mission: STS-133 
Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center - Launch Pad 39A 
Launch Time: 4:50 p.m. EST 
STS-133 Description: Space shuttle Discovery will deliver the Express Logistics Carrier-4 (ELC-4), a Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) and critical spare components to the International Space Station. 

The shuttle will carry six astronauts and one humanoid robot. One lucky astronaut is a substitute, replacing an astronaut who was in a bicycle crash last month.

That sounds funny, doesn't it?  Missing your trip to outer space because you fell off your bicycle?  Oh I bet that dude is not happy at all!  He was supposed to be the lead Space Walker.

This will represent the end of Discovery's flying career. NASA is retiring the three remaining shuttles this year, leaving orbital trips to private companies so it can focus on interplanetary travel. Until the private sector can take over crew hauls, NASA will have to pay millions of dollars to Russia for astronaut trips to and from the space station.

That's kind of sad.

Last night I saw the world's largest airplane, the Antonov-225, fly overhead at low altitude, presumably headed for Patrick Air Force Base. I was in such awe watching it fly so close above me, that I forgot to run get my camera. The 32 wheels had already dropped down for landing as it flew up above. It was an awesome sight, I am sorry I didn't get a picture of it.

If all goes well on schedule Thursday, puppy dog and I will walk to the coast and watch the Discovery head out on her final voyage.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Out of Order

I've really mucked things up now. Somehow my blog had a hiccup.  

The last think I wrote was:

Woke Up With Two Black Eyes!

Somehow the blog posted it out of order, so the 

was showing up as the post for two days running.

Very strange. 

Mornings are becoming more traumatic. Yesterday I woke up with two black eyes, today I woke up to discover that the puppy had been pretty sick during the night, poor thing. So I had my hands full cleaning up after that.  Things I won't describe had come from one end or the other of the puppy, landing in various spots throughout the motorhome floors.  I guess in my haste to toss out the throw rugs, then sweep and mop, I knocked the propane switch off.  Problem was, I didn't notice this.  The switch is located about 6 inches above the floor. 

Puppy was looking rather scared, as he heard me say "Ut Oh!"  more than once, as I cleaned rugs, mopped the floor and so on.  In his past life someone may have been mean to him if he got sick. Poor thing, I hated it that he looked so scared.  I cleaned up the mess, then loved up on him,  cuddling him like a baby, talking sweetly, asking him if his tummy had a hurt. He looked very pathetic, but enjoyed the extra attention. 

Later when I went to wash up with nice hot water, the propane hot water would not turn on. Ut oh!  So I busted up camp, drove the motorhome to the propane place, then discovered I had 1/4 tank of propane. Now this can happen in super cold weather, but the weather been's fairly temperate lately.  I burst out laughing, while the puzzled guy filled up my tank, I checked for the emergency propane switch which also operates the alarm.  It was off. 

That was the same alarm that went off last summer when I thought I was on fire:

Just a comedy of mistakes and booboos.I watched the guy fill up the tank to 3/4's.  That's all you can put in a propane tank, so technically I still had a third of a tank, when I rushed off to buy more. I forgot to ask him how many gallons that took. He didn't give me a receipt, just asked for $19.50 which sounded about right for buying 2/3's of a tank. 

Since his place was next to the Save-A-Lot, I went in there to pick up produce. They have really good bargains. My refrigerator only had lettuce, grapes and a pepper, my deep dark lair only had two sweet potatoes, which I love.  I was delighted to find squash, broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries, spinach, celery, onions, bananas, avocado, tomatoes and toilet paper.  The line was really long, with only one cashier, but she was super cheerful and speedy. The customers were careful to let each other go in turn, since the line had disintegrated towards the end, to allow other customers to pass through the aisles. 

I had forgotten my bags, they charge extra for bags, which they have a unique system for checking you out anyhow. They just toss your stuff into a shopping cart, as they ring it up. Afterwards, you can pull off to the side, where they have a long table, there you can bag or box your stuff to take home. If you've remembered to bring your bags or to scour the store for boxes. I had done neither.

I just pushed my cart load of goodies, minus the bags,  out to the motorhome. Puppy was absolutely delighted when I opened the side door entrance, and began tossing in food supplies, since nothing was bagged up, it was kind of comical as he personally inspected everything that came through the door, noting there were no toys or sweaters for him. 

I had made myself a hand drawn map, so we wandered on to the next store, Dollar General, where I checked for their latest bargains.  Doggy hopped out, watered some parking lot grass, then got back in. I had thought we would go to a pretty park and walk, but I was suddenly very tired. So when I returned, we ended our day trip.  I've been super tired lately, even sleeping a lot more than usual. 

While I was returning the grocery cart to the store, this truck careening through the parking lot with a crazy woman yacking on her cell phone DIDN'T SEE ME!  I thought my heart had stopped, she missed me by an inch or less, as she floored the gas in her haste to get out of there. 

I had left my wallet locked up in the motorhome with the doggy when I had dropped off the groceries. Imagine if she had run me down, I would have been laying there dead or half dead with no ID and puppy locked up in the RV!  

Maybe I should wear dog tags. 

Oh and here's my rant and rave. Musselman Apple Sauce advertises on the front of the label "Naturally Fat Free!"  But when you read the ingredients, it contains High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Yuck!  I had such a hard time, going to three different stores, before I found plain applesauce with no added sugars. Why is good healthy food so hard to find?

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Drinking Jet Fuel

I woke up from a dream about my recently deceased dear friend. It was about the 5th time I had woke up in a few short hours. So I decided to heck with it, I would get up, make coffee, sit down, write.

Never make coffee half asleep. 
This mug has traveled thousands of miles with me on boats, islands, different countries and now my motorhome.
Note to self:  Do not wash mug while half asleep, you miss stuff.

I highly recommend you measure  out your coffee the night before so all you have to do it turn it on, or set the clock if you have one of those newfangled coffee pots with a clock and self-starter.  I guess I wasn't awake at all when I made the coffee. My pot is very fast. So in minutes I had poured a cup into my favorite ceramic mug. It has traveled with me for 20+ years. It had a mate that had a chip in it, so I let it go, someone else snatched it up at the yard sale,  keeping just the one, moving overseas and thousands of miles away into my new old used motorhome.  

With my old coffee mug. 

It reminds me of days at sea, mornings on islands, a quiet sunrise in the cockpit of my old sailboat. I was dreamily thinking of all the times my departed friend and I had shared a cup of coffee over my dining table in the islands. 
My dear departed friend and I spent many happy hours, 
eating, drinking, laughing, talking, at my dining table in the islands.  

At dark-thirty, this morning,  I sat down at my desk, took a big hearty sip of the heavily milk laced coffee. My eyes popped out, my hair stood up, my toes swelled up, seeming to suddenly be fighting for space in the fleece lined house slippers I wear on cold mornings. 

After I peeled myself off the ceiling, I poured more water into the coffee maker. Let's bring that jet fuel down a notch. High test will be just fine, thank you very much. 

I'm a serial recycler, no use throwing out a good cup of coffee. 

That java was so strong, I used it to remove the perished Florida bugs off my engine hood. The caffeine livened up the dead bugs so fast, they scrambled to get off my vehicle.  

If you've ever driven to Florida, you know about the dastardly bugs that implant themselves on your hood, seemingly attaching themselves for the next millennium. (Incredibly, ten years later, oops eleven year later,  I still need my spell heckler to glaringly  remind me how to spell millennium correctly.)  

My recently deceased friend and I lived at opposite ends of the island. 
She often spent the night on my guest bed, rather than drive home. 
That way we could visit all over again in the morning. 
She loved for me to cook for her. I must have made her hundreds of meals. 
I had a favorite silk caftan, she loved to borrow,  to sleep in on those nights.
When I left the islands, I gave her the treasured caftan. 

I've been sorting pictures on my external hard drive, trying to organize ones I need for articles I am writing for publication. I keep coming across pictures of my smiling friend, happy days we spent on her boat, or at my house or her house.  

Beautiful memories, captured in pixels, that bring tears to my eyes. 

Last time my friend and I went out playing on her boat,
we stopped at this beach on a remote island.
We spent hours sunning, tanning, swimming, drinking, eating, playing, talking,
and best of all we laughed endlessly. 

Looking at these pictures, reminds me when life was good.  Really good.   It's still OK now. 

I woke up alive. 

My medical bills have piled up high on my credit cards,  threatening to sink me. I think that's why I have so much trouble sleeping at night. I keep trying to find creative ways to increase my income, keep the greedy bankers at bay. They sure have made a bloody fortune off me since I wobbled out of that awful hospital. 

I look at pictures of my former home, thinking how everything was sold, to make a dent in my hospital and subsequent medical mess. I'm one of those weirdos that has always paid my bills, no matter what. Somehow, I will get through this grief of losing my dear friend, somehow I will write enough, sell enough, persevere enough, to pull my life back together. 

I think about the homeless, the children living in cars. I take my puppy for a cold morning walk, grateful as can be, for the tortuous times I spent in therapy years back, learning to walk without canes, cranes and crutches. I throw my shoulders back, I walk faster to warm up my cold legs. I remember when all I dreamed about was walking again. Now here I am walking a silly puppy on a string, who looks at the world with a fresh view each morning. 

Last night, I guess puppy decided I had ignored him long enough, the writing at my desk taking too much time away from him. He began bringing me his toys, dropping them nearby, in hopes I would take the hint. Finally I came to a stopping place, so we could do some serious play.  He wagged his tail, perked up his ears, giving me a goofy grin. He was clearly delighted. 

I often ponder why my life has been spared so many times, how I ended up on the brink, only to bounce back alive when I should have died. How did my friend manage to work one day, then die the next?

Her family has informed me of her autopsy. It's mind boggling. I called  my old boyfriend, three thousand miles away, a famed pathologist. He answered many questions, did his best to comfort me. 

Somehow, before the call was over, he made me laugh, instead of cry. 

I am so very lucky. 

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