Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Resolutions

It's new year's eve.  I so wish I were on the beach at Foxy's on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands for Olde Year's Night. But I am on the prairie at Three Lakes Wildlife Management near Kenansville, Florida.

Yes, I am still very homesick for the Caribbean.  But I've forged a new life in America the past two years. 

It's warm today, so I feel very lucky and spoiled. 

I am totally amazed at all the astonishing things I've done this past year. In  2011 I managed to travel around 4 states. Amazingly in 2010, I traveled in 17 states. I do have wanderlust under my feet, I so wish I could travel more. Sell more books, get the next book on the market. Make it happen...

I'm not going to discuss my health, but needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled I woke up alive, again today!  Too many days were spent sick last year, and this year I want that to be zero. 

For my new years resolutions, I want to be kinder, nicer and far more thankful.

I want to wake up alive every day.  Not sure that counts as a resolution, but it's certainly my goal. 

Out with the negative, in with the positive. Smile more. 

Smiling, even when alone, makes one feel instantly better. So I try to grin like a fool most of my day. I don't get much done, but I feel great. 

My list of resolutions could go on and on, but let's keep it simple and reasonable. Notice I am not committing to giving up any bad habits. I've decided to focus on the idea that I do have plenty of good habits I so wish to maintain. OK, maybe a few good habits instead of plenty...   Maybe one day I will figure a way to rid myself of the bad habits and be perfect like those that think they are perfect and feel like it's their lot in life to point out my imperfections. 

Last time someone tried to verbally beat me up over my bad habits. I asked them repeatedly to change the subject. I explained that I am not perfect.  I doubt I ever will be. If they have managed to be perfect with no bad habits, then they are very lucky indeed but please stop berating me for not being perfect. 

I am not sure I want to be perfect!  It's so much more fun to be less than perfect. Then I don't feel so bad when I fail at things. 

Recently I listened to an inspirational speaker  on TV, (Joel Osteen)who was promoting the idea of ridding oneself of negative folks, to make room for more positive friends. He explained this in such a way, it really made sense. Not all people in our lives are meant to be there forever. It was something I had not realized before. Sometimes you have to let go. He said we were like a big building going up. Some people were the bricks, others were the scaffolding, just meant to be in our lives while we were under construction. 

I so hate giving up any of my scaffolding. 

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Harley Gets A Brother From Another Mother

 Harley wasn't feeling well at all yesterday. He was c-c-cold, I was c-c-cold.  When we went for a walk, we ran into his favorite puppy buddy who poked him. Harley grouched. His buddy playfully poked him again. This time Harley snarled at him. 

We laughed about it, then I picked up my little ornory muffin.  He was shaking and shivering something awful despite wearing a sweater with his new birthday coat over it. I tucked him inside the warmth of my jacket. We went back to the wheel estate to thaw out. 

Harley refused to let me take his coat off.  Instead he laid up on his white doggy blanket.  He was still vibrating like a palm frond in a hurricane, so I tossed my alpaca shawl over him. I snapped his picture just before he dozed right off. 
 Drive by shooting...

Ever wonder what an orange grove looks like at 60 miles per hour?  Well, I shot this pic while zipping by in the wheel estate  to Melbourne Florida.

Harley gets a brother from another mother...

This is Harley's latest love- his new little brother. I found him in a nearly new shop for 89 cents.  Harley plays with  him, romps with him, drags him around and generally annoys his little brother as much as possible. But clearly he is smitten. In this picture Harley is saying "Dude?  What happened to your ear?"

Another drive by shooting...   this one at 10 miles per hour. 

Our big wide beautiful world offers up such glorious treats. 

Sunset on the prairie resembles wildfire at Three Lakes Wildlife Management area near Kenansville, Florida. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blueberry Explosion

Blueberry Explosion

Well, I drove to the medical mess I have to attend to in Melbourne Florida. Fifty-three miles later, when I arrived, I was thirsty. I opened my refrigerator in my motorhome. Out sprang  a pint of treasured blueberries which literally exploded, bouncing merrily across my floor and throw rugs, from one end of the wheel estate to the other. 

I spent the next twenty-three minutes picking up one thousand nine hundred and eighty-two blueberries. I had no idea they could pack so many in a pint. Then I spent another eight minutes trying to wash all the debris off of them. For the price I paid for their health giving benefits, I surely couldn't waste them. (But it was fun to curse them!)

Doggy Collision

I am a very bad pet parent. Normally I have little Harley's pet bed attached to the seat belt. Harley is then tethered to a dog leash, which is attached to the seat belt. This is to prevent him from accidentally going through the windshield should we have an accident. He isn't interested in bouncing around the wheel estate when we are moving, so he doesn't mind this arrangement. But I was in a hurry, the seat belt jammed under the seat when I rotated it back to the forward position. (Many motorhomes like mine have a passenger seat that rotates 360 degrees so you can use it in the living room area too.)  I didn't hook his bed to it. He is so used to sitting in the passenger seat, in his bed, while we ride, that I didn't attach his leash, which had fallen down into never-never land. 

Shame on me. Tsk tsk tsk!  I am a very bad pet parent. I feel horrible. 

Another driver in the lane to the right of us, put on his right turn signal. Suddenly he jammed on the brakes while cutting to the left, directly in front of  my bumper. I hit the brakes so hard to avoid the collision, that I came up out of my seat. I am sure I used up ten thousand miles of rubber. The driver then cut over again, to the next left lane, while his right turn signal was still on. From what I could tell, he just had a turn signal, no brake lights. I thought turn signals automatically turned off, especially if you were turning the opposite direction.

Poor little Harley, bed and all, went cartwheeling into the floorboard with a startled yelp. I felt so awful. Traffic was heavy, and not much I could do to help him but talk softly while my heart raced so heavy and fast, I thought it would leap right out of my chest.  He didn't come crawling out at first. I couldn't see the passenger floorboard from where I sat to drive. Oh my gosh, did I just kill my puppy?

I managed to briefly compose myself long enough to change lanes to enter a parking lot just as little Harley appeared, looking very worried.  I stopped, turned off the engine, then gave Harley loads of loving while consoling him. I am not sure who was more upset. Me or him. 

Irate Camper

I went to Wickham Park in Melbourne Florida to check in for a night of camping. I needed to stay overnight, due to my medical mess, which has taken a, hmm, how to say it, I am not sure. But things are quickly becoming critical and I am in a mild state of shock. There are also problems with my workamping, having to do with my health, that I can't and won't go into now.

Living and loving each and every day is oh so important. I can't keep wasting time crying but it sure feels good to have a good long cry anyhow. 

I was so lucky to eventually get a spot,  because they were nearly booked solid. I had to wait a long time behind an irate man.  When I had called a few weeks ago,  to get a reservation I was told I needed to book 2 or more nights. This would interfere with my workamping which is already "up in the air" about my future here. So at the time, I didn't want to spend 2 nights away, if that was going to cause more problems. So I just had to show up and take my chances they could find a spot for me for one night. 

Matter of fact, I am so glad I had a wonderful Christmas, because my life has quickly gone upset down, with devastating news that I am still trying to process through my tiny addled brain. I am not going to whine about it right now, besides I am still very confused!  Nothing new there is there?  

The irate man claimed the lot they gave him was too small, but he liked lot 81, but someone was already parked there, but plugged into lot 82. He wanted them to move the campers in 81 over to 82, so he could have 81. The clerk tried to explain that 81 only had one night open, and his reservation was for 10 days and she had a spot for him for 10 days. On and on he whined and fussed and complained and berated the hapless clerk. 

He said lot 81 was huge and he had looked at 77 and deemed it too small. He went on and on about his reservation and that he had reserved some other lot number (I forget which) and they had switched him around. The clerk tried to explain that when they are busy and booked to capacity, they have to sometimes shuffle the lot numbers around. She explained they do not guarantee a specific lot number when you make a reservation but they try hard to honor the requests but it's not always a perfect world. 

After about twenty  minutes of patiently waiting and watching this grown man throw a temper tantrum, holding up the line, I was seriously daydreaming about giving him a swift  kick in the shins, tell him to grow up, suck it up, and be damn happy he was alive and vacationing in Florida with his family,  in his RV (which I looked out the window and suspect he paid well over a quarter million dollars for it.)  He was also towing a car that probably cost some where over $35,000 too. Poor fellow. I could see his kids eating at a table inside his RV. 

I was starving for a sandwich and worrying whether I would make my medical appointment on time or not. If I skipped the sandwich, would I be even grumpier?  I realized I was about to drool, whatever the kids were eating, sure made me even hungrier. For good measure, my stomach let out an embarrassingly loud growl. It seemed to be the first time the man had noticed that anyone else was waiting to pay rent for a camping spot. 

This poor guy really had it tough, oh life was so rough on him. Now the clerk at the park had simply ruined his entire life.  He wanted to make sure both she and I knew this.  How sad. I debated about bursting into tears and telling the guy that I felt very, very  sorry for him and his rotten lot in life. 

As time wore on, I realized Harley and I would not be going to the dog park. I had this wild ridiculous dream, I was going to pay for my night at the campground, then go to the dog park 100 yards away,  for 30 minutes while Harley played I would eat a sandwich, then we would drive to my medical mess. When we returned we would finally park at the campgound.  If we got a spot. If this man ever got tired of his seemingly endless temper tantrum. 

I seriously began daydreaming again, wondering what would they do, if I really did kick him in the shin and tell him to get over it?  Would I be arrested for assaulting another camper?  What would happen to Harley?

Then I took pity. That poor guy really had it ROUGH. I should get out my violin and play him a sad little tune. 

Here is little old me with my petty little worries about living and dying and being organized when I do one or the other. 

Finally the guy went outside to confer with his wife who was in the RV with the kids. 

I put on my biggest goofiest smile, handed over my ID and money, then tried my best to be polite while I asked for a spot, ANY spot, 81 or 77, I didn't really care, they were all so lovely to me. I also asked if it would be a problem, if my lot sat empty while I went to the doctors, would it still be there when I came back. She assured me that once the lot was paid for, no one would steal it. 

She gave me a parking permit with doublestick tape to put on my windshield, and I bolted out the door. I nearly collided with the man who was entering, loudly proclaiming he wanted a refund.  Well, good riddance was all I could think. If he was psychic, he would have probably killed me by now, for all the awful things I was thinking. 

Harley and I climbed up  in my little old motorhome. We were parked next to his palace.  We looked like a little toy camper next to his mega rig. I looked at the clock, there wasn't time for a sandwich nor a dog park. Just time to go battle traffic for my appointment. 

Shame on me for not planning better. I forgot to plan for this stranger's temper tantrum. 

When I returned hours later, dead tired, green to the gills, it was pouring down rain. At the doctor's office, they claimed I had lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks. I think this is preposterous. Funny math going on here!

I politely said I think they made a mistake weighing me.  Come to think of it, two weeks ago, I was dressed for summer. Today I was dressed up in layers of clothes for the wintry 46F weather. I should weigh 12 pounds more, not 12 pounds less. Then the next lady to come around, looked at my chart and said I lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks.  I laughed and told her it was a mistake. She looked at me like I was crazy. 

The other day  someone else said I had lost weight too, but I laughed at them and accused them of saying that just so I would smile and laugh. It's too cold for me to undress and check the mirror to see if I am missing 12 pounds, but I am sure they got that all wrong. 

Sadly Harley and I had to drive by the empty dog park, while he frantically pawed at the window, whining for me to pull over and play in the park. I don't think he quite understood it was pouring down buckets of rain and not a soul was around. 

We arrived at camping lot 81 after closely scrutinizing 77. It was empty and it was  huge, you could have parked an 18 wheel oversized tractor trailer on 77, with room for 6 more cars and still have space left over for outdoor chairs, table and toys. WHAT was the guy whining about when he told the clerk that 77 was just too small for him?

At lot 81, sure enough, a tiny camper had  parked on lot 81, but was plugged into lot 82. I guess the arrows on the utility post meant nothing to them. But much to my happiness, there was still plenty of room for me to park on 81 and plug up my umbilical cord. Sure I would have preferred to park lengthwise on the lot, but if I parked near the post for 81, I would have plenty of room anyhow. Besides it was still raining so hard, I wondered if I should worry about building an ark instead. No one appeared to be home in the tiny camper. Outside, they had a plethora of soggy wet outdoor camping gear. 

Then I began to worry, was I on the wrong lot?  Was I suppose to be on 81, 82  or on 77?  Why couldn't I remember?  I couldn't find my receipt. How did I lose it so quickly?  

I called the office, then said "Someone is parked on 81, plugged into 82, and I am on 81 also, plugged into 81, but 77 is empty, and I can't find my receipt and am I on the right spot?  She paused for a moment, then assured me I was supposed to be on 81. She also told me my receipt was folded up teeny tiny, then stapled to my parking permit which was taped to my windshield. 

Ah ha!

Mystery solved. 

She said she would send the park ranger out to see about the other camper on 81, and I said not to worry, I didn't really care, I was already soaking wet just from plugging up the electric cord. 

About ten minutes later, a park ranger banged on my door. He explained that the folks sharing 81 with me were supposed to be on 82, but since they were all set up anyhow, and no one was at home, if it was OK with me, then they would just as soon leave them alone. He said he had already mentioned to them that next time they camped, they should pay closer attention to the arrows on the utility post that designate where your lot is. We had a good laugh over it, and I told him it didn't bother me to share the lot with them. 

Later they came home, it was 4 people and one large dog staying in this tiny camper that looked to be about 18 feet long. When the rain stopped, I walked Harley, who stopped to play  with their big dog. We chatted for a bit and they said they were sorry they had misunderstood and set up on the wrong lot. I told them it was OK. Life ain't perfect anyhow. 

I wonder where that grumpy old RV-er in his palace went to camp?  I was glad he took his bad vibes elsewhere. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My New Fuffy

Harley and I are headed for Melbourne again. I have medical mess there today and tomorrow then again on January something at 8am. I am not a morning person. I get up, I move around, I make coffee, but that in no way means I am actually awake and functioning.  Lately my brain has been slow to get in gear. This makes for a comical life at times. 

Last night I was sorting through the mountain of paperwork that is threatening to make my motor home exceed her maximum weight limit. Right when I thought I was about to get some of it under control, I found a huge bag of unopened mail, that has been forwarded from four past addresses. I keep telling the powers to be that I want to do everything electronically, but some just insist it has to be done by mail and not email or internet or phone. Good grief. 

I kept making excuses not to tackle the paperwork.  This is so funny to me!  I used to be a wizard at forms, paperwork, filing and so on. But yesterday, I would wash dishes, do laundry, pet the dog, haul the garbage, anything to seemingly put off the paperwork. I even spent an inordinate amount of time making up the bed, so I could then use it as a sorting table for the mountain of papers. 

I did find my new vehicle tags, so I installed them.  I found my insurance bill exactly one day before it was due. Funny, I signed up for electronic billing with them too, but they never sent me an email or anything. The forwarded bill finally found me, in the nick of time. 

My bedroom wall is in progress, I still need to put it back together. I took it apart for another project I am about half way done with. More on that later. I seem to live in a construction zone. 

This morning I planned to sleep late, since I have so much to do when I do get up. But the hunters were lining up outside at 4:30am.  I could hear the roar of their engines. The station opens at 5am. By 5:15am, it appeared that no one showed up to open up the hunters station at all and it wasn't set up for self-service. I could see the line of hunters waiting had grown longer.  I reluctantly got up, threw on a dress, because it was the closest thing at hand, grabbed a flashlight then ran over in the rain and opened up. I felt bad the hunters had been waiting so long. I handed out their paperwork, then set everything up for self-service.  I came  back to the motorhome. Harley didn't even get up to greet me. Tsk tsk tsk. He did poke his head around from the passenger seat where he has been sleeping lately in his doggy bed.  He saw I was OK, then promptly curled back up to sleep. Even he knew it wasn't our scheduled day to work. 
I snapped his sleepy picture when I came back home this morning. 

I am super shy today. I don't feel like going over to wake up the folks that are supposed to work, because I have no idea why they didn't show up. Maybe there was a schedule change and no one told me. So what if I woke up the wrong people?  They might wake up really grouchy and yell at me.   Anything to avoid stress...  I have a stressful day ahead anyhow, so I am trying to remain calm. 

Anyhow, it's taken care of now, so no worries!  I would have just stayed and worked, but I really need to get organized to go to Melbourne. If I miss these appointments, bad things will happen. So I must press forward, rain and all. The unmanned hunters station will have to remain a mystery for now. 
A gentle reader sent me a box of goodies for Christmas. Inside a beautifully wrapped package was this super soft alpaca shawl. They had read my two favorite clothing colors were red and purple.  The shawl is  stunningly beautiful and oh so soft, woven from red and purple.  I feel like a newborn baby when it touches my skin. 

As a bonus, it coordinates so nicely with the upholstery, that I will never put it away. It will get loads of use, to ward off the chills that plague me at the strangest times. 

It is so big, so luxurious, that I am using it as a lap blanket as I type this morning, trying to redo my schedule.  Sleeping late (until 8am)  isn't going to happen  now that I am up since 5am anyhow. 

This velvety alpaca is my new "fuffy".  When I was a mere babe, I was an avid thumb sucker with a security blanket which I called my "fuffy".  It was a super soft baby blanket that I came home from the hospital in. As I grew old enough to talk, my mother said I couldn't pronounce fluffy, so "fuffy" it became. I thought I was the only child in the whole wide world who required a fuffy and thumb sucking to be happy. Then around Christmas, in 1965, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" aired. I was enthralled to meet Linus, the thumb-sucking, blanket-toting character.  I felt so empowered. I was not alone!  There was someone else who was like me. It was like being from another planet, and finally meeting someone who knew where I came from. 

Linus, you rock my world!  

Although I gave up the thumb sucking to attend first grade without ridicule, my fuffy stayed with me until my home burned down just before midnight, on leap year day in 1976. Even though I wasn't carrying fuffy around 24/7 anymore, I was cuddling with it every night as I slept. After my home burned down, I seriously suffered from insomnia. It had slept me with me every night of my life. I was bereft. Nothing in this world has ever come close to replacing my fuffy, until now. 

Am I regressing?  Could be!  Can't remember...

An odd note about "A Charlie Brown Christmas"  is that the network execs hated it!  It was criticized as being too religious—Linus quotes straight from the King James Bible (Luke 2:8-14). It was criticized for featuring contemporary jazz, an offbeat choice for a cartoon. It was criticized for not having a laugh track. It was criticized for using the voices of real children (except for Snoopy).

Luke 2:8-14
King James Version

 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Yet, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was an instant hit. It is now the longest running cartoon special in history, airing every year since its debut. Just goes to show that then, like now, the network execs are often clueless as to what the people want, enjoy and cherish. For me, it also introduced me to a life long love of jazz. 

I even watched it this year! I was trying to find wholesome Christmas specials to watch. My old boyfriend often claims my taste in movies and TV is about equal to that of a 10 year old.   

Most of my life I have happily lived without a TV.  I've set foot in a movie theater so few times, I can count them all on both hands and even name off those few movies I saw in a theater.  This lack of TV and movies,  has probably contributed to my voracious consumption of a zillion books. When it comes to books, I read anything, the naughty, the nice, the gruesome, the adventurous, the true, the novel, the sad, the happy. But with TV or movies, the pendulum swings the other way,  I pretty much have a G-rated interest. 

After two years of no TV in the motorhome, I have recently become a main stream American who now owns a  TV. I am not sure whether to be ashamed or excited. It turns out my wheel estate has a built-in roof top TV antenna, that can be cranked up vertically. Amazingly, I get a lot of channels, since I am parked in the middle of nowhere on flat land. I pick up signals that are 50 miles away. 

My favorite buttons on the remote are MUTE and OFF. When the commercials come on, I mute them. When my G-rated show is over, I turn it off. I avoid the news, but I sneak peeks at the weather channel since I wrote informal Caribbean weather reports for 15 years. That is how I became "Dear Miss Mermaid".  Another story, for another day. 

For now, I am curling up with my new fuffy, sucking at my coffee cup, rather than my thumb. 

A big thank you to a certain angel,  for such a wonderful surprise on Christmas!  My new fuffy!  This has been the best Christmas ever. WOW, I must be spoiled rotten. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Good Laugh Or A Good Life

My right arm isn't working right this morning. (It's pretending to be left.) I tried to make coffee and made a huge mess. Clean up on aisle two please!

Harley's birthday, (he is two paws old now) just wore him out yesterday. He collapsed in his favorite spot on his blankie. This prime location fit him well as a puppy, but he has grown to an astonishing six-and-a-half pounds!  He is wedged on top of the back of the dining settee which is behind the driver's seat. His blankie is draped over the back of the driver's seat headrest and the settee's back cushion. I moved the driver's seat to an upright position, which leaves a little gap where his blankie dips down. This gives him a little more room to squeeze into his treasured spot. Normally he likes to patrol from this location, as it commands him a wide view out windows on all sides. But the poor little fellow was just wore out. 

harley sleeps on the seat of the motorhome by dear miss mermaid
He had all his favorite foods, plus a long play date with the other doggy that lives in the workampers' area. Another workamper sang Happy Birthday to him while sitting down. Harley stood up on two legs, resting his paws on the thigh of the crooner, looking into his eyes while he sang. Oh I need to learn how to make videos with this camera, it was oh so cute. 

Last week I was driving back from Leesburg Florida down highway 441 south. The weather was pleasant, I had my windows down, enjoying the fresh air in spite of the holiday traffic pollution. I heard a loud roar coming up along side me. I just had to grab my camera for a drive-by shooting. 

I would have loved to have met this woman. She obviously thinks outside the box.  While she may go with the flow of traffic, she certainly doesn't  follow the crowd. She leads. I love it when people grasp their dreams, turning them into reality. At a traffic signal we all slowed down, but it turned green before we came to a complete stop. I got a nanosecond glimpse of her happy  contented face. 
lady rides motorcycle tricycle picture by

This is the ham and pineapple I baked  for our Christmas Birthday dinner with the other workampers. 
Christmas ham and pineapple by

I just love garlic bread, but had no bread on hand. Oh wait. I had parbaked pizza crust on hand. These were on sale two for a dollar, so I bought a small stack of them, as the "use by date' was far off and I do love pizza now and then. 

Anyhow, I sliced up the pizza dough into 8 wedges, then stir fried them in a pan with olive oil and garlic, then arranged them on a plate. This gave diners a choice of crispy or not so crispy garlic bread. 
garlic wedges made with pizza bread

I also made baked beans in the crockpot and red skin potato salad with red, green and yellow bell peppers. I tossed up some fresh cooked baby carrots with honey,butter, ginger and cinnamon. The other cook brought this heavenly seafood dish with aromatic creamy rice plus sausage baked en croute for hors s'oeuvres and an awesome homemade cheesecake.  We had a mountain of food for Christmas!  We are all so blessed. I feel so very lucky. 
christmas at three lakes wildlife management in florida picture by

This is the gazebo about 10 minutes before the guests arrived. The computer is set up, playing endless assorted Christmas tunes with a continuous roaring fireplace on the screen.  The guests laughed that I built an electronic fire for Christmas!  Some of the Christmas tunes were from the Caribbean, which gave them a giggle too. Now they are all singing "Santa Claus got a sunburn..."

The white curtain, is attached to the gazebo frame with spring clamps. Sometimes the sun is so intense, it is blinding, so I can move the curtain and spring clamps to block the direct sun. It's actually a thin blanket, but it's thick enough to block the sun but still let the light through.  Everything in my little old RV has to do double and triple duty to be useful. Luckily the blanket is just the right length not to drag on the ground. The patio mat looks like a real rug but it's really made of  polypropylene.  It's woven so that is is breathable and doesn't kill the grass underneath, hence mine is a tad lumpy. I've been using my patio mat for nearly 2 years now. It is still in great shape. It's a reversible pattern too. Mine is 9x12 feet. 

The screaming red chair is my Santa Claus chair. Angels gave me some cash gifties.  When this Sunbrella recliner chair was reduced to less than half price, I bought it as my gift. I am very lucky!  The last two Decembers, I was in such dire straights, that cash gifts went for bare necessities such as food.  This year, I had all my needs met, so I splurged on a chair since 3 of mine are falling apart. The other chairs in the picture were mostly borrowed. I feel oh so naughty!  It's high backed with 4 recliner positions and a pillow that attaches by velcro. Underneath it is a little tray table that slides in and out. The box arrived just before Christmas. It is very comfortable. (The chair, not the box.) The high back gives excellent back support. It reclines so nicely, that the day it arrived,  I reclined in it, then fell asleep with Harley in my lap. 

Maybe I spent my gifties too soon, because just this morning, my tooth broke off and fell out, much to my horror. Today seems to be a national holiday, so no chance of finding a dentist. I hate to price compare, but I have no choice. Last year I saw a dentist in Orlando that I liked a lot. He was extremely reasonable, I hope he still is. But I have a medical appointment in Melbourne tomorrow for something else. So my medical care is being spread out far and wide. 

Last week a friend came to visit.  She gave me a Christmas gift of  a huge bottle of rum with an equally huge bottle of pina colada mix. I rarely drink, wondering what I would do with this huge bottle of rum. So I put it out for Christmas. A few had drinks. One lady said she just wanted the coconut, so I made her a drink with just ice and the pina colada mix which is coconut and pineapple. I didn't put any rum in it, because I thought she was a non-drinker. 

About a half hour later, she said she was  tired, that rum was making her very drunk!  I tried to explain there was no rum in her drink but she claimed to be drunk. Since her husband had seen me make the drink, he could verify her drink was a virgin. We had a good laugh and offered her some real rum.  She scrutinized the pina colada mix to verify there was no rum in it. 

Harley and the other puppy played nearby on their tethers with the outdoor doggy toys. They were such good little doggies, they each had their share of ham plus bacon dog treats too. Harley was thrilled to have his buddies around him on his birthday. It was way too warm for him to wear his new coat, but I am sure he will get to prance around in it plenty, come January. He and the other dog play wrestled, then play fought over the toys, then they dug a hole and play fought over who ruled the hole. They kept us laughing while we stuffed our faces with all the great food. 

Harley was hooked to his tether with his new bungee cord he got for his birthday a day early. He entertained us by running full speed ahead until he reached the end of his long  tether, causing him to do  a back flip!  Now that he realizes he has a bungee cord again, he is doing his best to wear it out by bungee jumping and back flipping. 

Silly dog!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa Came last Night

I hope Santa Claus thought you were nice but not naughty,  and brought you lots of goodies!

Well Christmas arrived, right on schedule!  It's the best I have ever had!  I feel like a little  kid and it's only 7am.  I so want to boast, like an excited child, of the wonderful treats that came my way this Christmas. It was a big surprise all around, as I wasn't expecting any gifts at all but two boxes arrived, which I have refused to open until Christmas day. WOW  I am so super lucky!  Thank you thank you!  Some fans and friends, also sent me cash and gift cards, another super surprise. WOW!  

I am hoping the wonderful summery weather holds out for today as I am feeding the other workampers under my outdoor gazebo at 2:30pm. Another workamper is cooking half and I am doing half.  Since we both cook too much, there will be a mountain of food. This morning we have fog and coolish temps around 68F.  The dew is so heavy here, fog is rolling around the prairie, giving it an eerie look. 

My outdoor gazebo.
I need to clean it up for Christmas dinner. Normally I use a card table, but here I have a borrowed banquet table. I use it for dining, entertaining, sewing, repair projects, relaxing and detangling the  dog tether. The gazebo has 6 legs plus table legs, chairs legs and so on, just plenty for little Harley to make loops around with his tether. He starts out with about a 40 foot tether, eventually he is so tangled, he is down to about 3-5 feet. Sometimes he actually makes granny knots.  I must teach him macrame since knots so fascinate him. My wheel estate is parked to the right. I find it's nicer to put the gazebo a few feet away from the RV. 

Since I have no car, it makes it easier for me to go grocery shopping in the RV, by being able to leave my outdoor accouterments under cover. The electric cord is strung up off the ground at human eye level, so that a certain little doggy, doesn't tangle with that. His fur is already so wild looking, can you imagine if he was zapped with 110 volts too?  I splurged on white Christmas lights for year round use, which are strung around the inside of the gazebo canopy, making it really nice for the evenings. The electric cord runs across the inside of the gazebo roof, then drops down to the middle of the table. This way I can plug in the little sewing machine or the computer and puppy dog can't tie knots around the electric cord. 

Harley occasionally has wild dreams. While he is sleeping he suddenly lets out a loud howl, without ever waking up. First I am startled, then I laugh. This morning he woke up in a chihuahua mood (yap, yap, yap!)  He peeked out the window, spying the rabbit that takes a short cut through our camping spot twice a day (yap, yap, yap!) Harley just can't get used to this (yap, yap, yap!) We are working on it though. He is providing me great security (yap, yap, yap!) but when I tell him "It's OK"  I want him to shut up already. I may have to resort to negative training since the positive training isn't working on this matter. The negative training being I will tell him "It's OK" and if he doesn't quiet down, (yap, yap, yap!) then I will SQUIRT him with the water pistol. 

That shuts him up for some reason. *SIGH*


I was laughing to read that others have problems with RV explosion inside: 

The Good Luck Duck said...

When we're anywhere for more than two nights we explode into the Duck like our crap is spring-loaded. It's how we lived in a house, too, so now it's at least contained.

I loved the spring-loaded term. That describes mine entirely. 

The strange this is, when I travel with a friend, everything is so well organized. I guess it's two-fold. Before they arrive, I clean up and put everything away, hidden behind cabinets and closets.  Throughout the day as we pull more stuff out, we try to put other junk back away again. If we don't then there is no room left for us to enjoy. My friend has learned where I hide most of the stuff, so he is able to help stash it away. Still sometimes we put things away so well, we wonder if there is a bottomless hole things disappear to. 

I have a method for cooking in my galley that more or less works when I remember to follow it. Before cooking, I put everything away in the galley, such as emptying out the dish drying rack and storing anything else that won't be used in the next hour. Then I wash up any dirty dishes that might be scattered about so that both my sinks are now empty. Next I begin assembling the recipe and cooking. If I skip the first two steps, I run out of space and room quickly. 

Well, I have to quit writing and go start cooking up the Christmas dinner.  I have 3 hours to get it all done so I better start moving fast. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ho ho ho Ha ha ha

Ho ho ho and  a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanzaa, Seasons Greetings and so on. 

Whew, hope I covered most of it. 

Naughty or Nice, Santa Claus claims he was trying to deliver gifts at the nudist colony when he noticed their sign "Clothes Prohibited"

Well, I hope this brings a silly smile to your face!

I guess I am never going to figure out how to deal with much stress. Someone has been going out of their way to heap some unneeded unwanted stress my way. I am trying to ignore it all. 

They're not happy until you're not happy...  

Looking around my wheel estate, I wonder why it is in such a wreck, like a hurricane plowed through here depositing stuff at random. I used to be such a wizard with paperwork and forms.  Since getting whacked over the head, paperwork and forms seem to confuse me endlessly. Very strange all around. I think the stress and the projects just made a wreck of things. I was trying to repair a little table in the bedroom. It folds up to the frame, which is set inside the wall to make it flush. So there are tools and hardware laying around. That's just the beginning of the trail of debris that seems to have suddenly covered my motorhome from end to end. 

My brain gets foggy, the cabinets seemingly explode. I get tired very easily lately, something I am not fond of at all. 

So out with the stress and back in with the organization. I think it's the long chaotic work hours that help throw my RV into disarray. Being alone too, means I do 100% of the work around here. It's always something to fix. I get tired of fixing things. I really do. But I just have to make do, to make ends more or less meet. There are several things in need of repair, that are on a wait list, as I can't seem to do the work, or I need more research into the matter to figure out what I am doing. 

When I returned from my overnight  trip last week, my sewer hose separated in the middle, right when I hooked it up. Fortunately no sewer was running through it at the time. But I was tired and let the project slide, using the holding tanks. But then I forgot and started a load of laundry a few days later. 

Now I had to go fix the sewer hose, or the little washer would surely overflow the holding tanks. Yuck. I fixed it. I would have rather dropped a plumbers wrench on my foot than to repair a sewer hose. Fortunately I had all the right parts on hand, to repair it adequately. What fun. 

Now my outdoor director's chair ripped in the back. I need to sew up a new back, the old one is shot. It would be nice if I did that sooner rather than later. Two of my other outdoor camping chairs are on their last legs. They have lasted two years of outdoor use. They of course were bargain basement chairs at $12 each. They've held me and lots of friends, I guess we just wore them right out, they are in tatters too. 

Tomorrow I invited all the workampers (we are up to six people now) over for Christmas dinner at 2:30pm at my little outdoor gazebo. Another workamper is doing half the cooking plus I'm cooking, so we will have tons of food. Two are vague about coming over, but the other four are coming for sure. Last week I found some great bargains at the store, so I am pleased to cook and feed. I will plan on extras in case anyone else drops by, though being out here in the boonies, not likely to see many folks, but you never know. Luckily, it's easy to borrow chairs around here, so there will be plenty of safe seating even if I don't get my  chair-back sewed up. 

Harley will be celebrating his birthday too, though he already received his gifts yesterday. He had me and the others laughing hysterically. The UPS truck drove up to the hunters shack. I was trying to leash up Harley. Some how, much to my horror, he escaped from the wheel estate, running wildly for the UPS truck roaring down the road. I was sure he would be a flat puppy!  How did he know that UPS was delivering his gifts?  Makes you wonder...

I was speed walking after him, calling him. He was ignoring me, which infuriates me.  The UPS truck stopped, handed out the packages, then I asked him to wait while I scooped up one very naughty puppy dog who has no road sense at all. 

Finally I got him back on his leash. I opened the box at the hunters station. It had 2 gifts for Harley, one for his birthday, the other for Christmas. One was a little ultra suede coat with faux shearling, the other a bungee cord for Harley's tether.  He loves bungee jumping, but he wore out and broke  his old bungee cord a while back. He needed one with carabiners at both ends, to attach to his string. 

When he saw the coat come out of the box, he began dancing on two legs with his tail wagging furiously.  I and the other workampers were laughing at his apparent enthusiasm over the coat.  As I held it closer, he gave it a good sniffing while wagging his tail so fast, his entire rear end was wiggling around.  I put his coat on, it fit him perfectly!  He pranced around like he was the star of the runway. 

Laughter is the best medicine!

That night, he curled up asleep in his bed after a long walk.  He wouldn't let me take his coat off, so I let him sleep in it. So funny!  This morning it was summery temps here in the late 70's by 10am, so I had to remove his coat. He seemed very reluctant to give it up.

Silly dog. 

I will have to get a picture of Harley in his new coat. This is a picture of the coat, but it's the doggy model, not Harley in the picture.  I can't imagine getting Harley to sit still long enough for a non-blurry furry picture, but I will try. 

Last winter in Florida we had lots of very c-c-cold days, so I am sure Harley will get to use his coat plenty in the future. 

Pet Suede Shearling Coat

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Workamping Long Hours

I survived the longest night when winter solstice passed through here last night.  Today I am surviving what seems like the longest day, because I did 8 hours workamping yesterday and today I am doing 16 hours. 

It's 3:30pm which means I have been up 12 hours, since 3:30am. I am oh so tired and fighting off the grouchies. I still have 4.5 hours left to work. I just want to curl up and rest. 

My wheel estate is a wreck, the laundry is piled up. I did manage to cart off the garbage. I have a mountain of paperwork and other personal messes to attend to at some point soon.

I spoke with a workamping volunteer coordinator this morning about their spring openings 800 miles north of here. Everything they had to offer involved me buying a car (impossible!) or me turning into a couple (inconceivable!)  So it was all rather depressing. 

But Christmas is around the corner.  I received a surprise package in the mail!  I guess Santa Claus figured since I didn't have a chimney for him to slither down, he would simply use the post office.  I haven't opened it up yet. Might as well wait until Christmas. It's fun to stare at the box and wait. 

Harley will be two years old on Christmas!  I bought him two little gifts. He will be thrilled.  I'd tell you what they are, but he might read the blog and find out. 

This morning he pretended not to notice me getting ready for work. He scrunched up into the tiniest puppy ball trying to disappear into his bed. When it was time for me to leave, he did leap out of bed at the very last second. 

However we were both shivering so badly, that I had to put his little doggy coat over his sweater after we got to work. He curled up to go back to sleep inside the check station shack while I greeted the 5am hunters outside, with a cheery smile. I wasn't feeling cheery at all, but my big smile hid this nicely. 

When I had a chance, I speed walked back to my wheel estate to kidnap the coffee pot. I placed it on top of the oil filled radiator to keep it warm inside the shack. 

Life is good all around, but I so look forward to collapsing in bed when this shift is over.  If I remove the "f" from shift...  I can truly explain what I think of working 24 hours in under 2 days time...

Oh the things I do to make this tiny budget stretch so far. But hey, it's a life, I'm alive, I'm fed, I have a surprise box for Christmas and a silly little dog to celebrate his birthday with on Sunday.

I was thinking about when my mother died, one of her friends got up and spoke about her sense of humor. She said my mother threw a birthday party for her dogs, inviting some of her 2 legged friends to help celebrate. She served  them canine cuisine such as Salty Dog drinks with hot dogs and pupcakes for dessert. Each guest went home with a doggy bag of treats too. 

She played music in the background such as  "Puppy Love", "Who Let th Dogs Out", "How Much is That Doggy in the Window", and "BINGO".

Doubtful I will have the energy for any of this, but what the heck,  maybe I will come up with something funny between now and then. 

An Unusual Christmas Display

Near the Oak Creek Bridge on the St. Michaels Road (Route 33) in St Michaels, Maryland you can find this unique Christmas display. 

It appears as though the Air Force and Santa's sleigh have had a collision. Toys and wrapped gifts are scattered around. The life size figures show elves retrieving toys, Air Force crew is trying to repair a red wagon, and  full sized reindeer are grazing in the pasture. Someone obviously had a sense of humor about their Christmas decor this year. 

All pictures click to enlarge.  Ho ho ho and a Ha ha ha!  

Merry Christmas to all and Happy Holidaze to others!

You can also enjoy the video of the above scene (below.)