Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Caption This Monkey On A String

Sometimes Harley's just leave me speechless with his curious circus antics. 

How would you caption this photo?  Turn on your creative juices. Show me what you've got!

You can click comments below to enter your caption. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Curious Ways Of Big Corporations

I am on Facebook but it drives me insane. Today I tried to log in and it didn't recognize me and my device. No idea what that means. But then they posted a bunch of pictures, ordering me to identify who was in the pictures, or else I would be locked-out of Facebook. 

Well, I could only identify one person, and not even sure I got that right. So Facebook has locked me out. Go figure!  People said I needed Facebook to promote my books. Others somehow communicate endlessly on Facebook.  I just don't have time, but I was trying to update my page and so on, promote my books. I have not seen an increase in book sales because I am on Facebook. But I am going to get my books on Kindle soon, so I hope that helps.

The other day my internet company cancelled my entire account, even though I was prepaid. When I paid my monthly fee for August 13 through September 13, on a credit card, they charged me twice but only gave me credit once. So I called them about this and they promised to look into it saying it would take 2-6 weeks. 

I, like so many, can get so easily frustrated dealing with big companies that don't care for their customers one bit.

Nothing happened. 

Eventually I asked the bank to reverse one of the duplicate charges. A few days later, they did. So my internet company, shut down my access, closed up my account and told me my old plan was no longer available, I would have to buy into a pricier plan. That is what I think I understood from the customer dis-service person who spoke erratic English with odd mispronunciations   

Numerous phone calls to the company did nothing but eat up all my cell time with multiple promises that it could take them 2-6 weeks to straighten this out.  Meanwhile I would have to do without internet. Since 99% of my income involves the internet, this could really make a dent in my budget. I am out in the boonies, there isn't anywhere convenient for me to drive the motorhome, to go borrow free WiFi access. 

Finally I made another gallant attempt on the phone.  This time I found someone who actually spoke fairly good English. I did everything in the world to sweet talk and cajole them into understanding the problem, then fixing it. 

A few hours later I tried the internet.  Lo and behold, it worked. I'm back on my old plan the company discontinued, but if you already had it, you could keep it.  The corporations keep changing the rules they play by. Soon as you sign up for a good deal, they discontinue it. 

A third company, unrelated to all this, used to pay me to write articles. Then they decided the writers were making too much money, so they changed the whole plan around, so you make about 10 cents an hour to write for them. 

A fourth company that I was selling odd little designs on printed apparel and other products, suddenly changed their whole system around, so that my little profits from them,  plummeted, even though the same amount of articles are selling. 

I just try to plow forward, pray for a miracle and laugh off the insanity of it all. Even my book publisher has changed everything around, so that my next book will make less royalties than the first book.  Wasn't that nice of them?  They make more, I make less. 

Oh well!  Life goes on, and I am having a blast anyhow. 

Not sure if I will get to post anything tomorrow or not. A friend has chartered my motorhome for a trip to the mountains. I am super excited. My itchy feet are always ready for a trip.  

I was thinking I provide the six C's:
Chartering Class C
Chauffering, CheffingCleaning

For you non-Rv types, a Class C is my type of motorhome. A Class A is the big bus type RVs.  A Calls B is a van conversion. A Class C is built on a modified van chassis.  Basically the front of my RV looks like a van, but a box like house has been built over and behind the cab area. 

So today I am working my tail off trying to tweak a few things and make some repairs. It's like an old boat, always something to fix. When I finish all that, I need to do more housekeeping and laundry, plus bathe a certain little dog. 

Puppy doesn't understand why I can't play with him much. He is such a hoot, he just loves his toys and he will play by himself, but he prefers to pester me into playing games with him. 

I love his enthusiasm and optimism. He is such a joy (and a pest) to have around. 

As I write this, a lady on a hot pink scooter with a matching hot pink helmet is touring the park repeatedly. I think she is learning to ride her scooter and using the park for her training ground. 

About an hour ago, a gorgeous red fox ran right through my camp, disappearing into the woods. I yelled at him to stop, so I could take his picture, but he just ran like hurricane wind, totally ignoring this photographer's request. 

Here comes the lady in pink on her fifth trip through the park on her pink scooter.  I'd love to have a red scooter to run my errands with, but I heard red gets more tickets. Other say oh it's just the red sports cars that get more tickets, most scooters can't go fast enough to get a ticket.  

Ut oh, now she hasn't reappeared again. Maybe I need to go hike to the other end of the park to see if she is OK or perhaps she figured out how to stop the thing. So far I haven't seen her brake at all, maybe that is why she is doing loops around the parking lot and going back and forth to the picnic area, she is looking for the brakes. 

I once saw a funny video of some not so bright fool who loaned his motorcycle to his clueless friend while he videotaped it. As his friend roars off on the motorcycle, his head whips around and he screams "Where are the brakes?"  about 3 seconds later he crashes into the neighbor's wooden fence, taking it out completely. The video stops at this point. 

Hurricanes and Hangovers and Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph by Dear Miss Mermaid

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Place For Everything

I ran into an old friend. She, like I, used to crew professionally on large yachts. Not your garden variety bareboat yachts, but big beautiful, gorgeous yachts.  The kind with exotic owners and  international crew.  Yachts that traveled with an assortment of luxurious accouterments.  Things that must be kept up nicely, a place for everything and everything in it's place.  New toys   for the rich and famous might mean custom storage accommodations being custom made, and post haste, before the next sail.

Yachts I worked aboard were kept well organized 24 hours a day, with only temporary disruptions for maintenance and upgrades. Many required that a project be cleaned up before the workers were allowed to quit for the day, even though the next day, they had to restage for  their repairs, all over again.

This was because the yacht must be kept ready to go at all times, not only for the entertainment whims of the owner and/or his entourage, but for safety and security reasons. One might be in a foreign port where something is brewing, and it's best to move along and find calmer harbors.

So a true yacht, has a place for everything and everything in its place.  When I bought my tiny little sailboat, a mere 30' , it was like having private crew quarters, but I still kept everything ship shape.  This enabled me to have great fun, as I could sail on my own whims.  It only took me 5-10 minutes to leave the harbor, once a decision had been made and I took to making these decisions  quite often, since my ridiculous work schedule enabled me to have lengthy amounts of time off.  But you need time off, when you've spent 6 weeks or 6 months, working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, taking care of others and their yachts. 

When I finally had a week or two or three off, I kept myself busy keeping my own little yacht in pristine shape and enjoyed many wonderful sails aboard her. I lived aboard her for over 10 years and enjoyed just about every precious moment spent on the sea. I was young and healthy, it was a grand life.

So my friend and I were discussing how we missed the travel, the big yachts, and how different our lives were ashore now. (This conversation was taking place a few years ago, when I was living on land in an apartment.)

She lamented that her new husband (of 4+ years) thought her a bit mad, because at home she continued to have a place for everything, and everything in it's place.

I knew the feeling. When I first moved in my home ashore, I went to great pains to put everything away neatly. Then I kept as much of it put away as I could or organized into certain spots where specific things lived.

We laughed about it, and I said as of late, I had sort of let myself go, let things get into a disarray on the home front, because I had discovered the apartment didn't tack upwind, matter of fact, it didn't tack at all!

For the land lubber, tacking on a yacht is to go from heeling over on one side, to bringing the sail across the deck and suddenly heeling to the other side. It was at that point, that if you had not put the yachtie things away with care, cabinets or drawers might fly open and spew their contents, leading to much embarrassment. If aboard the owners boat, they would glare, and say, well THAT needs fixing!  Or act totally disgusted or confused, WHAT is wrong with my yacht?  We don't have things rolling around on the sole,  not now, not ever!

My friend and I both mutually understood the need to have a place for everything and everything in its place, even if we did live on shore. Though, my friend volunteered that now she didn't line things up ever so neatly inside the cabinets anymore, afraid that things would get jostled, as her home too, seemed to stay firmly grounded now, and one could actually relax and even entertain the notion of a junk drawer or a hideous closet behind closed doors.

Her living with her husband who had never lived aboard a yachts and there fore didn't understand the need to have all this tidiness and organization, who  often thought her nuts or even worse, anal retentive for wanting everything so tidy and me with my past roommate, who thought me a bit mad, wanting things nice and tidy, put away, ready to sail.  I guess we both just like driving others nuts...

Now I am in my motorhome.  A friend has "chartered" my motorhome for a trip soon, so I am back in yachtie mode. 

A place for everything, and everything (securely) in its place. 

Maybe transitioning from land to a motorhome was easier for me, because of my sailing days at sea. 

I have to go now, I have things to put away, and places for them to be...

Hurricanes and Hangovers and Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph by Dear Miss Mermaid

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Things In The Road

Today I treat you to a blast from the past, a story of life in the islands, from 2006,  when I was living and working in the British Virgin Islands. In the islands we say "tings" rather than "things".  "Mash up" is a car wreck. 
British Virgin Islands

T'ings in the road...

The roads are rough, not as rough as they used to be, but still, we have pot holes and lumps and bumps in the worst places. Cars take a beating here and sometimes car parts fly off the moving cars. Everyday I drive by an old radiator on the side of the road. I wonder how far that car got before they noticed they had lost their radiator.

Almost everyday, I see one or two hub caps on the side of the road. Sometimes someone has taken time to prop it up, in hopes the driver might see it and retrieve it.

I once saw a jeep a few cars ahead of me, go around a curve and his red  tail light cover flew off in the road. I needed a  red tail light cover for my old rusty hunk of a jeep, so I was going to stop and retrieve his. But the car in front of me, seemed to take great glee in aiming for it, and grinding it to a million pieces right before my very eyes.

Another time I narrowly avoided a wreck, when the car in front of me lost his entire bumper.  It loudly clanged into the middle of the road.   I swerved sharply and managed to miss it without rolling my jeep over. The car that lost it, just kept going 90 mph like he never noticed.  

Bet he was a tad surprised when he parked and saw his rear bumper was gone.

Yesterday there was another mash up, just west of Nanny Cay.  The people looked pretty angry and the cops were there with their measuring tapes, measuring everything. No one was directing traffic, which had been reduced to one lane. I crawled by at a snail's pace like everyone else, so I could get a good look at the wreck.

But one reader, who has recently acquired a home in the BVI, has topped the list of t'ings in the road.  She had always let her husband do the driving on Tortola even though she drove at home, in the USA,  all the time. Finally on one of their trips to Tortola, she announced to her husband that she was ready to tackle driving here in the Virgin Islands.

She made it down the steep curvy hill from their new home and turned on to the main road and headed for Road Town. She goes around a curve and there in the middle of the road is a queen sized mattress!  The mattress isn't moving. It's just laying there in the middle of the road. Finally she manages to negotiate around the mattress, goes up the next hill and starts down, when she realizes the truck in front of her, is backing UP the hill towards her.  (Perhaps he realized he lost the mattress?)

I bet her husband was having a good laugh by now...

Which let me point out, it's in the rules of the road here locally, that if you are backing up on a public road, you are supposed to change lanes, so that you are backing up, with the flow of the traffic.

Like the guy near here who backs up the road to his home every evening. He lives at the top of a hill. First gear has gone out of his little car. He can't make it up the hill to his home in 2nd gear, so every evening when he comes home, we see him backing up the road to his house. I don't know why he doesn't just fix first gear. 

Maybe he's waiting for someone's transmission to fall off in the middle of the road...

Then there is the real tear jerker. This happened on St John. At the time, the road between Cruz Bay and Coral Bay was a donkey trail full of pot holes with the occasional patch of pavement. It was a rough road to negotiate, and folks openly cursed the government because it took a long time to traverse the mountainous road in the horrible condition it was in at the time. 

A new carpenter was so excited to get a job there, he packed up and moved everything from New York to St John  including his beloved tool box.

The first few days he settled into his apartment and searched for a vehicle to buy. He was ecstatic to find a rusty little jeep with a tough engine.  He called his new boss and announced he was ready to report for work the next day.

I saw him at breakfast, as he gulped down his eggs and told me about his great find of the rusty island jeep and his new job near Coral Bay. He pays his tab and leaves Cruz Bay to negotiate his way over the mountains.

On the way there, he discovers that his jeep is quite prolific in bangs, rattles and clunks as he bounces down the awful road.  The rattles, bangs, clicks and thuds were so loud, he had to turn the radio volume up to full blast just to be able to hear the songs.

Arriving in Coral Bay, he hops out of his jeep at the job sight and reaches around back to grab his tool box. There, where his tool box used to sit was a nice neat rectangular rusty HOLE. 

He spent the next two to three  hours combing that awful road, looking for his tool box.  He checked all the deep ruts, looked over the steep cliffs, rustled through the wild bushes and never found so much as a screw driver.

I saw him at lunch at the bar, he was downing his 5th or 6th beer as he told me his story. While some folks are honest and will try to find the owner of found items, this was not to be in his case. Beer after beer, he told me about his tools and how old they were and how long it took him to acquire them.

We were sitting in a garden bar, his newly acquired jeep was parked out front. Meanwhile his buddies are checking out his jeep,  laughing hysterically and poking fun at the nice neat rectangular rusty hole in the back of his jeep.

One day when I was working as a private chef, my job for many years, I had to go down an awful patch of dirt road to reach a zillion dollar home on the cliffs over the ocean. I had my trusty rusty heap of a jeep loaded to the max with a week's worth of gourmet groceries and bar items for 8 guests on vacation. Per their request, I had numerous cases of assorted beers and sodas. 

It had rained a good bit recently, so the dirt patch of road was full of big muddy potholes. It was such a rough patch of road, I had to slow down, creeping through the ruts, guts and pot holes with my heavy cargo. 

Finally I was back on smooth payment to do the last leg to the exotic villa. My next chore was to do the donkey work of unloading the jeep, carrying everything down a flight of erratic outdoor rock steps, then into the house and kitchen. I noticed a lot of mud was covering my groceries. Fortunately, the guests had not arrived yet, so I could clean things up in the kitchen. 

When I finally got down to the layer of cases of drinks, I noticed several cases were missing drinks!  How odd.  Everything was jumbled up, the jostling down the awful roads had really made a mess of my cargo.  I was sure the cases  were full when I bought them. Then I saw the problem. My own rusty jeep had developed a hole in the cargo area. See, I had removed the back seat (it was rotten anyhow) so I could use the back of the jeep for cargo. 

Somehow, drinks had managed to come out of the cases, then fall down in the new rusty hole. I grabbed some duct tape, I kept in the glove compartment, then taped up the hole.  At least mud wouldn't be flying up on my groceries anymore. Back in the kitchen, I unpacked the groceries, throwing out the muddy bags, washing things that were splattered in mud. 

The next morning, I was up at sunrise,  to drive back to the villa to start on the breakfast buffet for the vacationers. The dirt road had dried out completely overnight. There scattered down the road, were assorted cans of beer and sodas. Some were still full, others had been flattened out by passing vehicles, many were dented and all were very muddy. Not wanting to be a litter bug, I stopped every 100 feet or so, and cleaned up the muddy dented and deflated cans. 

My hands were caked in mud by the time I was done. It got all over the steering wheel. When I arrived at the villa, I tried to silently unlock the door and tiptoe inside to clean up. Then I went back outside to wash the mud off their door knob and the steering wheel, however, none of the muddy drinks were salvageable. 

Hurricanes and Hangovers and Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph by Dear Miss Mermaid

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Free Samples To Stretch The Budget

The Ohio Bridge in pen and ink by Dear Miss Mermaid
Most all pictures on the blog click to enlarge.

Stretchig a tiny budget is fun.  Sure more money is so much easier, but when it is not falling out of the sky, then it's time to do some serious stretching exercises. 

Recently, I was pretty ill, thank goodness, I am much better now. Matter of fact, Harley and I just came back from an energetic walk. He is thrilled I am feeling better, as it means we are getting out and walking more. 

While I was laid up in bed, I would wake up, too tired to actually get out of bed, so I brought my little old computer to bed with me. I use an inverted rectangular basket as a bed desk. Cost of basket was $1.  Can't beat the price for economy. The fact that it allows air to flow freely through it, helped to keep my laptop cool as well. Between sleeping and meditating, I would attempt to work on the laptop. I must have been sicker than I thought, many of my articles for pay, were rejected. 

Since I couldn't seem to concentrate much on work, I went on the internet searching for free samples. There are hundreds of websites catering to this, but I found them mostly useless with old outdated info. A few had good stuff, but it was like a needle in a haystack to find them. So I began scanning down the search list for actual companies that were offering free samples, rather than relying on the websites that write about free samples.  So far four companies have sent me samples that already arrived in the mail recently.

Bragg sent me 3 sample packets.  One each of;  Organic Sea Kelp Delight Seasoning,  Organic Sprinkle (24 Herbs and Spices Seasoning)  and Premium Nutritional Yeast Seasoning. I already love and use Bragg's organic Apple Cider Vinegar and Amino Acids (natural soy sauce) so it's fun to try out their other products. 

Emergen-C sent me 2 sample packets of 1,000mg Vitamin C Flavored Fizzy Drink Mix in Super Orange and another in Raspberry. I will admit, they are rather tasty. 

Lacoste sent me a sample card with 4 men's fragrances, as they were out of the female samples. So each day for fun, a rubbed a different male sample on my arm.  I thought they smelled pretty good on me, even if they were designed for men. 

Prilosec sent 2 free tablets for heartburn. I no longer have any heartburn trouble at all, but I figured I could toss it in the First Aid kit on board the wheel estate for future reference. 

Harley got into the act and ordered up some dog food samples, but sadly, none have arrived at this time. For a little 6 pound dog, he sure does love variety in his diet. Last summer in Ohio, a pet food store gave us a whole bag full of assorted dog food samples. He enthusiastically tried them all. While the samples were designed to feed a big dog one complete meal, it took little Harley, nearly a week, to polish off each sample. He only eats about 2 tablespoons of dry food once or twice a day. Of course this is supplemented with some "wet" food such as cheese or meat, usually about an ounce of each.  He also eats a vitamin everyday.  A gentle reader sent him a big container of doggy vitamin wafers as a gift. What an angel!  The wafer is a little too big for him, so I snap it into pieces, then toss it in his food bowl. Eventually he passes by the bowl, chowing down on his vitamin.      

I've read about how some small dogs are super peculiar and you have to feed them a strict diet of the exact same food for life. But Harley is different, he likes to try all sorts of things. Some things he will try once but not twice. For instance I gave him some plain yogurt one day which he readily gobbled up, but since then, he won't try it again. 

For some strange reason, he doesn't much care for me to give him treats at all. Maybe he fears we are going into training mode, as I have tried endlessly to train him with treat rewards, but he doesn't seem to care for that method. But if we have company, I can hand them a treat bag, then he readily gobbles up one or two proffered treats.  On about treat three of four, he turns his head away, refusing to eat anymore. 

I guess he wants to keep his cute little puppy figure. 

He seems destined to be perpetually underweight, but he is very energetic and healthy. Lately his coat is looking much nicer, maybe it's the vitamin wafers helping him along. 

Just for grins, I have since signed up for more free samples. Now I know to search more specifically such as "free toothpaste sample" or "free sample tea" and so on. It will be interesting to see what pops up next in our mailbox. 

Of course many readers have also bestowed gifts on us, more for Harley than for me. Harley just has that pathetic needy look about him. One reader sent us a jumbo container of pure Vermont Maple Syrup and a big dog toy for Harley that was a rope attached to a large tennis ball. Harley has since separated the rope from the ball. We play tug of war with the rope plus chase and fetch with the ball. Meanwhile I've been in hog heaven with the real Maple Syrup. I make pancakes then serve them with the syrup. I also make a healthy apple and carrot salad that is soaked in a maple syrup infused homemade dressing. 

Surprisingly, Maple Syrup (the real stuff, not the imitation) and Honey are both acceptable sweeteners for diabetics. 

Well, here I am bragging about feeling so much better, but that sudden tiredness has hit me again. No idea what that is about. So I am going to take a little nap now, to see if that cures what ails me. Then it will be time to walk again, then work, then do laundry, then write, then cook, then live...

This morning I put on dried beans to cook in the little 1.5 quart crockpot. It cooks beans perfectly. An angel sent me a box of assorted organic dried beans. So today I combined 1/3 cup each of black beans, red beans and pinto beans.  Once they are soft, I will decide how to flavor them or what to make out of them. Another thing I do with my bean dishes, is to often split it in half, once I've made the bean dish. Then I use my midget sized food chopper to make bean dip or spread. This way I have a healthy snack waiting in the fridge.  I often combine the bean dish with additional ingredients to make the dip, such as jalapenos and onions or cheese or all three. It just depends on what I have on hand at the time. 

I can also make a sandwich wrap with the bean dip and salad ingredients. I usually use small wheat tortillas, not those jumbo wraps. Those jumbo wraps sold in the stores are often so thick and huge, they equal about 4 pieces of bread, a little too much for my diet. Otherwise I can perk up an ordinary saltine cracker with my bean dip. 

Life is wonderful, I feel so blessed and lucky to have a comfy bed to go nap in, even if I do have to share it with Harley.  He wouldn't dream of letting me taking a nap by myself. Heaven forbid. Even when I napped in the chair one day, he curled up in my lap. Many folks don't have a bed of their own. I know I am lucky.  Angels look out after me.  I don't know why they do, but I  sure am grateful during these wild weird times. 

It's never too late.  I am trying 1,001 things to improve my health and life. So far, I keep waking up alive, so I must be doing something right. Yippee!

Hurricanes and Hangovers and Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph by Dear Miss Mermaid

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two Angels And A Dog

I feel the earth move, under my feet, I feel the sky tumbling down, I feel my heart start to trembling...

     Carole King, lyrics to "I Feel The Earth Move"

Carole King played fabulous piano. I once got a hold of her music to try to play it on the piano myself, but I believe she had 14 fingers, as I could never play all the notes.  On the other hand, I once tried to play music written by Barbara Streison, but she has very long fingers. Where I can only reach an octave (8 keys) on the piano, she can reach 12 keys, so you need very long fingers to play her music.  I had to pencil in my changes to her music, just so I could play it. I sure miss having a piano. 

Ah, those were the days. 

I sure felt that earthquake on the East coast. At the time, I wasn't sure what had hit me.  I was in a parking lot.  I had just had some emergency repairs made.  It had been a long wait, so now that I was back in my motorhome, I had chosen not to drive off right away.  Instead I was piddling around, making lunch for me and the dog.  All of a sudden, it felt like the motorhome jumped over a foot. Harley started barking, racing from window to window while I followed him, thinking maybe we had been hit by a car pretty hard.

Not a soul nor vehicle was moving anywhere around us. Matter of fact the place was practically deserted because the employees of the business we were parked at, had all gone to lunch themselves. 

My second thought was maybe we were hit by a 100mph gust of wind. But the nearby flag on a pole, was hanging limply, the sky was clear.  It truly puzzled me.  I had checked the clock, out of habit, whenever someting weird happens.

In the Virgin Islands, I could feel any earthquake above a 3 on the Richter scale. I always noted the time, because I was the local weather reporter. Matter of fact, that is how I got the "Dear Miss Mermaid" moniker.  Also, I reported earthquakes I felt to the  US Geological Survey office in Puerto Rico.  For some bizarre reason, I could feel earthquakes that my neighbors didn't feel. But they were always the tiny ones in the 3+ range.   

However, it didn't occur to me, that while sitting in a parking lot in northeast Georgia, I would feel an earthquake!  So the thought briefly entered and exited my head. 

Later the news hit me, the east coast, had an earthquake at the same time I felt the  jolt. Since then, I've felt a few tremors.  Nothing serious, just the motorhome shake ever so subtly for a nanosecond while puppy and I are not doing a thing. 

Actually, maybe I've been feeling tremors since April. No idea. But I did ask the  park ranger, what was under my camp spot? I told him how several times a week, the motorhome would shutter.  Have I been feeling weak tremors all along?
This little beggar has been living with me 
15 months now in the wheel estate. 
I guess I'll just have to let him stay forever. 

Angels to the rescue!

Today two angels stepped into my life ever so briefly, but I am VERY grateful. When I came back from the motorhome repairs yesterday, there was a large black dog waiting at my camp spot. She seemed like a big puppy who was very lost. The problem with being in a remote location, is where to post notices of a "FOUND DOG"?

I tried going on Craigslist but for some reason, it wouldn't post my ad.  Nobody was advertising a lost dog to fit her description. I searched for animal control, shelters and rescues in northeast Georgia. I found all one of them.  Since it was past closing I emailed them with my dilemma. Found dog, but I had no car, already had a puppy of my own. Not sure it would be safe for me to try to stuff another dog in the motorhome, to go  in search of the animal shelter, yet I wanted to help this poor lost soul either get back to her owners or get a home. I thought maybe I would call around, to see if a friend would come visit, and ride with us to the animal shelter. I was just worried I would be driving, and the dog might be going nuts in the motorhome while I was driving. Having an extra human along would help. 

Some pets love traveling, others have to get used to it. When I rescued Harley, I took a friend with me so she could hold and comfort him while I drove. Then when I helped my friend adopt a sad depressed cat, we went together so I could put the soft-sided cat carrier on my lap, to make the cat feel secure while I gently petted him through the soft woven screen mesh as my friend drove.  Amazingly, the cat fell asleep for most of the ride. He is now a gorgeous happy cat, smitten with his new pet parent. But I digress...

I had the sneaky suspicion this BIG puppy had been dumped here purposely at the park where I workamp. People can be so cruel. 

She had no collar, she seemed timid, scared and uncertain.  She apparently had made herself a temporary home outside the fenced-in dumpster in the park. They keep the jumbo garbage dumpster here locked up behind a fence, since the rest of the park has numerous garbage cans. It's huge, nearly 9-10 feet tall. There was no way she could get into that or any of the garbage, so she was pretty hungry. The fact she had made her little home there, made me wonder if that is where they dumped her out. The park I volunteer at, has no campground, just me here. 

Whenever I walked Harley, she was there, curled up at the dump. She would run out and play with Harley.  She even   jumped up on me, rather gently, her eyes staring deep into mine, as if to say "Help me!" 

I promised her, I would somehow make it all better. 

Well today, two ladies on bicycles came up to my motorhome, asking if the dog was mine. I explained that I was trying to make arrangements to find the owners, or  to get the dog to the shelter, since I couldn't adopt her.  They were of the opinion too, that she appeared to have been abandoned here. They said they had a car about a mile away at their lake home, they would go get the car, then take the dog to the shelter or adopt her.  

The dog seemed more than happy to go with them, they had gained her trust.  I had a tear in my eye, such generosity, that these two angels were willing to help this poor castaway. 

It's amazing they appeared when they did, as I asked them if they had heard from the shelter about my email, or read the Craigslist ad I posted (which I found later never posted.) They had heard of neither. 

Angels!  Real angels! 

Later I took Harley for a walk. We went by the dumpster. I burst out laughing. There was one of Harley's outdoor toys!  I guess at some point when the lost doggy was sniffing around our place, she took a toy back to her temporary lair. That makes me think, she had indeed had a home and a toy,  at one point. 

But someone sent us two angels today.  How wonderful!  So tonight the dog is either adopted by the two ladies or safe at the shelter, either way she probably has a full belly and better prospects for her future. 

Bless those angels that just magically appear! 

Life is good. 

Hurricanes and Hangovers and Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph by Dear Miss Mermaid

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Best Seats

Well it just goes to show, you learn something new everyday. When I heard about  I thought it was about airline tickets. But it's not. It's a great place to buy tickets to see your favorite band, artist or team such as:
Chicago Blackhawks Tickets
The Book of Mormon Tickets
New Jersey Devils Tickets
Chicago Bulls Tickets
Radio City Christmas Spectacular Tickets
just to name a few. 

I guess you can buy just about anything on the internet now, except gas for your car. I remember the good old days when a great band was coming to town, one could spend hours in line, just waiting to buy the concert tickets because certain bands were sure to sell out the first day. 

One time, back in the 80's, when Eric Clapton was coming to my hometown, my boyfriend called me up to see if I wanted to go. Of course I did. The problem was, he didn't drive, because he was born blind. He too, was an accomplished musician.  He was working in a sound studio that day.  He often just caught rides here and there, until he ended up where he needed to be. But since he was stuck working that day,  he wanted me to pick up the tickets before they were all gone.   They were being sold at a music store. 

But when I went to buy the tickets on my lunch hour, the line was out the door and several blocks long. I had already had lunch, so I didn't have a whole lot of time left. The line looked like an afternoon's wait, not a 5-10 minute affair. Furthermore, they might run out of tickets before I even made it close to the cashier, as there is no way of telling if someone in front of you is buying 2 tickets or 20. 

I called him back at work.  I said something like "I hate to do this to you, but don't you know the owners of the music store?  Call them up and see if they will hold tickets for you. Tell them you can't get anyone to pick them up for you  until tomorrow. See if that will work."  The reason I felt sheepish, is that he was a very proud person and never wanted to be special or treated differently than anyone else.  He used to often say "I'm not blind, I just can't see!"  This was one time we were clearly asking for a favor, based on his blindness. 

Well, it worked. He called me back, the store owner had said to him "I'd never do this for anybody else, but since it's you, I will pick out two good seats and hold them for you until tomorrow, because I know we are going to sell out today."

So the next day, the music store was back to normal, the tickets having all sold out, the day before. I was able to breeze in, announce I was there to pick up his tickets, pay for them, then leave. No lines, no hassle. 

When the concert came around, we went to the auditorium. We began following directions to our seats, based on the signs. Because it was crowded, my blind boyfriend, walked single-file right behind me, with his hand on my shoulder. This way he could literally follow me around turns, up stairs and so on, without bumping into people. 

I finally found the section we belonged in, then started climbing the stairs. We climbed so high, we stopped for a break. Then we climbed some more. At one point, he asked me if I was lost.  I said "No, but we've climbed so high, my ears are popping!"  

A million steps later, we were at our seats.  On the very last row. The top of the auditorium. Indeed these seats had been so rarely used, they were in excellent shape. I could almost reach up and touch the roof. I was dismayed that the stage waaaaaaaaaaaay down below, was so teeny tiny. He asked me if I could see the stage alright. I lied and said "Oh, just fine!"

When the lights dimmed and the music started, the sound was absolutely awesome. We had both been in this particular auditorium before and had no idea there was a difference in sound, based on your location. Turns out the music store owner, had picked out our tickets because he knew the best sound was at the top of auditorium.  

Of course now in large venues, they often use electronic screens to duplicate the stage view, so that no matter where you sit, you still have a view of the stage. 

I still remember that concert. It was also the very first time I had seen a laser light show, which was incredible. I marveled over the pretty colors that seemingly streamed through the air, the color suspended in the beam. So it turned out, I had lots to watch after all. 

That was 20 something years ago. About a year ago, I heard my old boyfriend was playing music at a bar that was only a few miles from where I was staying.  Since I had been living in the Caribbean since the late 80's, I had not seen him, but we had occasionally spoke on the phone, but at this point, I think it had been 10 years or so since we had talked.  I knew he was now married, with a daughter and had relocated to Nashville.  But I went to the bar, trying to get there before the show started so I could see him and say hello. But I was late, the show had started. When he went on break, I wandered over, then called his name. I was about to introduce myself to him, feeling sure that he had no clue who I was. 

He whipped around in my direction, speaking my name, then gave me a big long hug.  I was astounded and thrilled. We ended up going outside, having a fun conversation until it was time for him to go back on stage. 

The world seems so big some days, other times, so small. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Exotic Undies in Isla Mujeres

Last evening another storm hit the area. It was my fault. I had just hung my laundry out to dry. Now I watched it get soaked again, in a matter of seconds. *SIGH*

I finally get some energy reserves built up to do some work and mother nature is doing her comedy routine on me. 

I'm an old fashioned southerner, so all my undies are hanging indoors, behind closed curtains to dry. I just can't bring myself to hang them outside for show and tell.  Anyone that drives in the park, can readily see what's hanging on my clothes line.   

All my under garments are nice and dry this morning, even if everything else is dripping wet outside. Now I am ensconced indoors in dry clean undies, and nothing else, waiting for some soaked clothes to dry so I can get dressed. 

I am so confused.  I thought I planned better than this. 

Years back when I worked aboard a yacht in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, the captain was a New Yorker.  One day I was going to town for fresh fruits and vegetables. This took up over half the day usually. First I had to walk to the gate outside the compound, then stand outside waiting for a taxi.  Generally this was an illegal gypsy cab. Once in town, the market was open air. I had to go from stall to stall, picking out my purchases. My Spanish was awful, so it was a lengthy chore while I tortured them with my erratic Spanish.  Also, because Isla means Island, no one was in a hurry at all. I had to bring my backpack and cloth shopping bags with me to load up the foods. It was another hour long trip back to the marina, once I found a ride. Then I had to stand at the gate, ringing a cow bell, waiting for someone to come let me in because they had a key shortage.  

As I was leaving to shop, the captain announced he was doing laundry. It was the first time he had done the laundry for both of us, but I figured it would be OK. The compound had washers and dryers. They weren't coin operated. You gave your money to the marina manager, telling him how many loads you did. He also made a side income, by doing laundry for the yachts. But my captain said he was going to do it himself. 

Just prior to landing in Mexico, I had shopped for new underwear in the Virgin Islands. That is because the last yacht I had worked on, sent our laundry out to a very new laundry lady. She had cranked up the propane industrial dryer to maximum heat, suitable for drying a super thick comforter,  to speed up the drying process on all our clothes etc. The end result was the elastic in all my underwear was shot completely. Nothing was wearable after that ill fated week.  Some of my cotton shorts were shrunk so tiny, I had to go on a severe diet to get back into them. 

I was scheduled to join a new boat in Mexico on a far flung island, so I went shopping in the Virgin Islands because that is where I was at the time.  At the store, all they had in cotton, was all these wild animal prints. So I had stocked up on bras and panties in zebra stripes, tiger stripes, leopard prints,  giraffe patterns and so on. Needless to say, it was wildly colorful underwear that was safely hidden under my  yacht uniforms. 

Well, lo and behold, when I came back from shopping in Isla Mujeres, I was absolutely mortified to discover the captain had instead of using the dryers at the laundry right in the compound, had decided to hang up all our clothes on the lifelines of the boat. He had even strung up extra clothes lines from the shrouds to the mizzen main. On these he had hung my colorful bras and panties for all the marina and lagoon to see. 

I dropped my groceries on the dock, then scrambled aboard to retrieve all my under things. I know I had a beet red face, as the captain kept telling me he didn't think they were dry yet while I was rapidly snatching my underthings off the lines and muttering not-so-kind words his way. Quite a few men, stopped their work, to stare, watch and giggle. 

I am sure the captain KNEW there were only two women in the entire marina, the other 39 residents and 8 workers were all males. On top of that, there was construction going on for the new condos in the marina compound, so there were another two dozen men toiling away at that. Our yacht was practically parked right up front, so no matter where you were in the marina or on land you saw a great view of my seemingly exotic bras and panties. He had hung everything up to show it off at it's best, as if he was opening up a boutique, carefully hanging the matching sets all together nice and neat like, cause he was that kind of person. He was fanatical about doing things ultra neatly. 

For the next few weeks, I was treated to knowing smiles, leers and jeers, wolf whistles, as well as suggestive comments in 4 different languages about my underwear. The captain acted completely clueless to my dismay, claiming in New York, everyone hangs their underwear out the windows to dry, on long lines that crisscross over the streets below. 

He just couldn't understand why I was upset at him. Finally he said "Is this a southern thing?"  It's probably the only time we had some not so friendly conversations in our work together. 

Back to the present...

Last night,  after dark, while I was in bed, on the phone, another storm rolled in, complete with lightning. Then the rains suddenly stopped. I opened up the bedroom window by my bed to let some fresh air inside. Suddenly Harley and I heard Bigfoot in the woods. That familiar crashing, thrashing sound of a giant blazing a new trail. Harley started barking then we heard this loud long c-c-c-c-r-r-r-rashhhhhhhh followed by smaller crackling noises, finishing with a loud thud.

Either Bigfoot just dropped dead or a large tree fell down.

Or both. 

I thought a massive tree was about to land on top of me or Bigfoot might make an entrance, searching my camper for food. So I told my friend if our phone call was cut short with a scream, to call 911 to come dig me out and I gave them my address and directions. Luckily, no such bad thing happened. I will have to venture out today to see if I can find the source of the clatter. 

Last week, at a campground south of me, on the lake, a sudden storm broke out wreaking havoc at the campground. One travel trailer flipped over on it's roof, sending the 7 occupants inside all to the emergency room. How frightening that must have been for them. I understand the campground was so badly damaged, along with loads of camping gear, that it is closed up completely, until they can clean up the mess. 
Above is home sweet home, before the storms hit, before I got the bright idea to do laundry. Now (not shown) I have my cantankerous awning put away.  This morning,  the laundry line in back is covered in soaking wet laundry from yesterday's attempt at cleanliness.
Hartwell Lake is receding, as more water is needed to make surplus power.  The rains haven't been plentiful to keep the lake topped up.  The original lake shore is at the treeline. Look at all the grass that is clinging to the mud. Now if that mud was your front yard, you could bet not a blade of grass would grow for you. 
The grass in this area is so lush, that with a little grooming, it could easily resemble a golf course by the lake. 
 Wild flowers poke out of the mud, offering a beautiful contrast. 
For some reason, not a single weed will grow on this expansive section of red mud left by the lowering levels of the lake. Nature is fickle. Why grass and flowers grow in one patch of mud and not in another, is just another mystery of nature. 
I am appalled at how much garbage is just strewn around the park when I am not looking. This park must have over two dozen garbage cans, yet folks toss their garbage out the car window, or abandon their fishing or picnicking area,  just leaving all their garbage behind. Even though this is a "No Alcohol Allowed" park, I pick up dozens of beer cans on my walks. 

Are beer drinkers exempt from using garbage cans? 

Look at the bucolic scene above. There is a vehicle tire in the woods!  It was not there two days ago. It's about 100 yards from the parking lot at the public picnic shelter. Someone went to all the trouble to bring their unwanted tire down here to the park, then roll it off into the woods. How I wish they had just propped it up next to the garbage can. Why hide it in the woods?  

Another day I found a gas tank for a boat hidden in the forest behind the public restrooms. There is absolutely no way it could have washed up ashore there. We've never had a flood here to reach those heights. 

In my utopia, we would have a hunter's season on litter bugs. You could shoot to kill anyone who tosses their garbage out at nature rather than put it in a garbage can or bin. As for those thoughtful parents that leave their disgusting dirty baby diapers behind where ever they please, I wonder, are we raising a nation of idiots?

Hurricanes and Hangovers and Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph by Dear Miss Mermaid

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Coffee, Lemonade and Storms

It's 3am and I am wide awake drinking Hazelnut coffee laced with low fat milk.  A storm has broken out complete with thunder, lightning, rumblings, mumblings and copious amounts of rain. 

I've been feeling terribly weak and having to rest up often.  Now I am trying to stay awake and get things done. So far, I've managed to stare out the window monitoring the storm, while rubbing the sleepy puppy's belly. 

My awning is still put away but my patio stuff is outside, so everything is getting soaked. I'm not going out in the dark alone out here to cover it all up. The wild life hunts at night. I don't wish to disturb them nor become part of the food chain. 

I enjoy strong dark coffee with nearly equal amounts of milk. When I was working in Venezuela, I became hooked on strong coffee. Many of my American  friends choke on my coffee, preferring to add equal amounts of water to it before they add their own accouterments. 

Hazelnut coffee was deeply discounted at the store, so I bought some. Oh my gosh, what a treat that has turned out to be. It is wonderful stuff, tasting naturally sweet. I had no idea flavored coffee could be so delightful. I've always shied away from flavored coffees preferred super strong black stuff that makes the spoon take notice and stand up straight. (Some say my coffee  can corrode a spoon.)

Hazelnuts are full of antioxidants, plus B and E vitamins. It's used to flavor Frangelico too. 

My little old wheel estate came with an undercabinet Black and Decker coffee maker, that I found out was an option that Fleetwood installed. According to the coffeemaker manual, it is circa 1993 and still perking along nicely. I'd love to have the new and improved undercabinet coffee maker by Black and Decker that now includes a thermal carafe. Mine just has the regular fragile glass carafe. Dream on! I'm going to have to sell a lot of lemonade or books or both. 

I set up a lemonade stand on my blog, in the right column. :)  If anyone wants to buy lemonade, it goes to a great cause!  (An eccentric recuperating mermaid...)

Hurricanes and Hangovers and Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph by Dear Miss Mermaid