Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Head Ain't Good

Pellicer Creek Paddling Trail

Faver-Dykes State Park
St Augustine, Florida

It's been in the 30's  here at night lately. Brrrrrrrrrr!

I can't take this cold weather anymore so I am moving to Florida tomorrow.

Oh wait.

A check of my current coordinates indicates I am in Florida.


Tomorrow I am moving further south. 


Last night I was so chi-chi-chilly!  

I kept turning the heat up on the bed, but still I felt this icy cold draft.  My windows were just oozing cold  in spite of having the shades pulled down below the window sill.

I tossed and turned, snuggling deep down under the comforter. I clicked the mattress warmer up a few notches. I aimed the tiny 200 watt electric heater closer to the bed.

Anything to escape the draft.

The main heater, sitting in the middle of the RV was a 1500 watt ceramic heater with a blower that was fighting hard to keep the place warm.  I got up around 3am to make some hot coffee just to warm up with.  That's when I noticed the kitchen window was open!

Good grief.

I slammed it shut a little louder than I meant to and immediately felt the new warmth fill the pocket of cold space. Ahhhhhh... this is heaven.

Back in bed, I still felt this incredible chill. Click, click, click. I cranked up the electric bed warmer again. I slid back deep into the covers. But I could feel that mysterious draft.


Morning arrived and I piled on the clothes to stay warm. I went outside to begin packing up my mobile patio in anticipation of moving further south.

My workamping gig is over and they want my spot back, so it's time for me to pack up the circus and shuffle along.

While putting things into the Rv's basement storage area, beneath my bedroom area,  I noticed I had left my broken window shade all the way down and it looked odd. The spring has sprung and the shade is only 3 years old. It's maddening.

I typically roll it up by hand and hold it in place with a spring loaded clamp. But this morning I hadn't bothered, even though I had opened every other window shade in the RV to let the sunshine in.

On closer inspection, I noticed the cantankerous shade was pressed up against the window screen, not the window.

The sliding window was OPEN.

I had slept fitfully through the night... beneath an open window, hidden by a broken window shade.

Oh my goodness.  Some days my head ain't good...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

All Of It

Last week it was the end of the world...

Next week it is the end of the year...

My calendar isn't adding up right.

Did I miss something somewhere?

Either way, some meager disaster supplies are stashed in the RV.


My workamping and volunteer duties as a Camp Host are coming to a close. I will be moving soon and working on a top secret project that I hope to share with you soon.

Go figure.

Harley dog was spoiled rotten for his 3rd birthday recently. Of course he is mostly spoiled rotten every day.

But he does cute things to make you forget how spoiled he really is.

Harley is riding in my friend's car on the back shelf behind the back seat. He does this when I am not holding him out the window up front.  I've had the thrill of riding as a passenger for a change in a real car.

When I came to America about 3 years ago, I bought an old clunker to drive for cheap. I drove all over creation looking for a mini-motorhome. 

Found the motorhome.
Sold the car.

I wanted to keep life simple and green. 

So for me, riding in a car as a passenger with my doggy in tow is a rare treat. 

Harley LOVES to hang his head out the window and feel the wind in his fur. I have to hold onto him tightly and have a safety leash on him too, so that he doesn't bounce out the passenger window. Other times we tell him "Get in the back!"  and he dutifully sits on the back shelf like a stuffed toy.

In the motorhome, I am driving alone and Harley has to sit by his closed window in the passenger seat,  the entire trip. For revenge, he has slobbered dog juice all over his RV window, then left his paw prints behind. RV pet owners know all about this, I am sure. 

I have lost my mind... but nothing new there!

Santa Claus has more faith in me that I do... more on this soon...

Angels, friends, and framily went out of their way to make my holidays super special!  I am oh so lucky. More on this soon too...

Thank you!  Did I say thank you?  
Thank you so much!  
You make my heart sing!

It is pouring buckets of rain today. That is because I have a ton of outdoor chores to do.

Ain't life grand.

Most days I wake up at 4am and stay up!  I am just oh so excited to wake up alive, that I feel the need to jump up and start doing things.

Why miss out on a moment of life?  There is so much to do and so little time!

Of course sometimes I poop out rather quickly and have to take a cat nap. But  what a glorious day it is, rain and all, I just love it!

The pain is giving me a serious work over lately...  I might be forced into temporary medical care if I can't learn to live with this. But for now, when the pain is great... I just plaster a great big smile on my face and slowly count to ten.

Everyone thinks I am so super duper happy because lately I am just smiling my fool head off almost non stop!  

Laughter... I try to find lots to laugh about. This eases the pain tremendously.  Maybe because it is just a darn good distraction?  Having Harley for a dog certainly gives me paws for the cause and loads of laughter.

If you are feeling down or in pain or simply just stressed out, try this method!  (Smiling and laughter!) At least folks are usually pretty nice to smiling and laughing people, though some will treat you like your IQ is less than room temperature...  But who cares?

Have some fun, life is good and it's shorter than you think. 

When and if I end up at the pearly gates, I will probably arrive all beat up, sliding in under the gate in a bloody mess, body wore out, brain failing erratically, things sagging and bagging, a few loose drips, parts broken, some missing and not much left to deal with anyhow, even though I am fully "donated" in case they find any usable leftovers before I am destined  for the scrap heap...

But at least I can say to my maker "I took everything you gave me and used ALL OF IT UP!"

Friday, December 28, 2012

New RV Math

Darling, for $19 a night, I will learn to LOVE camping, trade these high heals and makeup for the chance to travel.  

It's a quote I love, that I heard recently. The campground I am in charges $19.80 per night for camping in Florida at a gorgeous state park campground.

I met a nice couple at the campground who said "We are new at this!  Last time we came to Florida  and stayed in hotels. The price was absolutely ridiculous for what we got. One day we were out sightseeing when we found this park for $19 a night. So I said to my husband, let's get a camper and he said Honey, you don't camp! and I said darling, for $19 a night, I will learn to LOVE camping, trade these high heals and makeup for the chance to travel.  

They went on Craigslist, found a camper for a pickup truck for under a thousand dollars, then drove to Florida to give it a test run. They figured if they hated camping, then they wouldn't be out much money. They came by my site walking their dog when they struck up this conversation. The lady explained "And I do LOVE camping!  The dog goes with us, we can cook at the camp or we can go out, but we aren't just pouring all our money into a hotel room just to sleep and bathe. The restrooms here are nice, the showers are clean, nature is beautiful, what more could we want?  This is wonderful!

It was so much fun to meet someone smitten with the new lifestyle of camping and RV-ing.

28 foot Fleetwood Tioga Montara Class C RV, by
Home is where I park it!
I prefer grass, but my Camp Host lot came paved in concrete.
Home sweet home!
Note: the white car shown is not mine, my friend was visiting when I took this. 

I meet many delightful people in the campground.

But some can't read, count or do math, but still manage to own a luxurious RV that costs a bloody fortune.

How do they do it?  Win the lottery?  Make money the old fashioned way?  (Making money the old fashioned way is to inherit it!)

I am in a park that states on the webapage "Maximum RV length = 30 ft."

So what happens when a 38 foot RV shows up for a 30 foot site?  Recently this happened (again!). The owners lied to the reservation folks so they could get a spot in here because of our wonderful rates. By the time they arrived, they forgot about their lies and ended up yelling at us that their million dollar rig was a nightmare to park on their lot and they didn't appreciate negotiating our curvaceous skinny one lane road.

Believe me, those trying to maneuver around their bumper sticking out in the road,  weren't too happy either. They were offered a refund which they refused, so they had to repark their rig crooked on the lot, to make it more or less fit. Then their car wouldn't fit on the lot too, it stuck out in the road and we were trying to get them to park it at the parking lot at the rangers station, but they didn't want it that far away (it was a brisk 60 second walk) and that didn't suit them either. So more cursing and reparking until they somehow had their rig crammed into the woods and their car on their lot too.

When they left a week or two later, they came by to tell me that they were writing a complaint about what a nightmare our park was and how it took them all freaking morning to extricate their rig from the tiny lot. So I asked the million dollar question.

"Just how big is your rig?"

The man barked at me "It's only 38 feet and we're only towing a Saturn car!"

I tried to gently explain about the website and brochure mentioning the 30 foot limit and he looked at me like I had three eyes and two noses.

Doesn't 38 = 30?

It's a common problem here, people want the great rates and are willing to fib about the size of their rig to get in here. He also went on to complain that we needed 50 amp electrical service, not 30 amp.

Um, well, since 99% of the rigs under 30 feet are 30 amp...  hardly worth installing 50 amp, when no one is going to use it.

I find this all so funny. Let's lie about the size of our rig, pretend it's 8 feet shorter, then scream and yell when it doesn't fit...

Awhile back I wanted to visit a remote campground in the mountains but they had a 25 foot limit and I am 28 feet, so I took them at their word. I didn't reserve a spot. Ironically I ended up in another park nearby that had a special section for 25 feet and under. The dog and I took a walk through that area, and oh my gosh, I don't think I would drive anything over 20 feet on those twisty winding sharply curved roads that lead to the 25 foot and under camping lots.  It was a sobering lesson.

Do the math.

28 feet does not equal 25.
40 feet does not equal 30.
38 feet does not equal 30 either.

Hmm... am I going to fast?  Is this too confusing?

At my favorite beach campground in South Carolina, you look at their map, see these huge 50 foot  lots then note that they mention the rig must be under 20 feet on some of the beachfront lots and 25 on others. It's easy to think, hmm... somebody made a mistake here. I will just park my 45 foot rig on that 50 foot  lot and no one will notice. That is until they show up and find out the reason it was marked for 20 and under was because of all the mature trees growing there.

I ran into an RV-er  there who told me "What they need to do here is, cut down all the trees, widen the road, pave the sites, make them all pull-throughs,  then they could get the big rigs in here right on the beach. I looked around the beautiful quaint park with the towering trees and grassy sites.  I imagined the Walmart type parking lot style  the RV owner wanted. It made me want to cry. How could you pave over mother nature?

They do have other lots that can accommodate 40 feet, and they say so on the map but they aren't beach front and this bothered him. Walking one, two or three minutes to the gorgeous unspoiled beach was just too much work for him and he said so.

"And another thing!" he said "That beach needs some bars, restaurants and shops!  It has nothing!  Who wants to sit on the sand and stare at the ocean all day?  They need to build some stuff, especially a boardwalk, cause I don't want to get sand in my RV!  Why should I have to drive 20 miles to the nearest restaurant when they have 8 miles of empty beach here to build on?"

I turned green, the thought of seeing the wonderful beach destroyed by over-development just churned my stomach.

Sure there are plenty of RV parks that resemble a massive parking lot and many folks love them. But I like beauty, so I look for lakes, trees, oceans,  rivers, grass and so on. I don't want to sit sandwiched in between a plethora of trendy eateries and overpriced shops. Give me beauty any day.

And 38 feet still doesn't equal 30...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Seasons Greetings!

Seasons Greetings!

I had workamping duties over the holidays, but still had time to build a roaring fire. Christmas Eve I did a load of cooking, we had a nice Christmas Eve dinner and sang Happy Birthday to Harley.

I have an old friend visiting and it's a thrill to celebrate together again.

Christmas day we woke up to hot coals in the firepit, so we threw on a few more logs and the fire roared to life.  After the workamping chores were done,  we just munched out on leftover turkey and fixings, marveling at the beauty of the day.

Harley dog is wore out, from his birthday and Christmas.

We hope all of you had a fabulous holiday!  Ho ho ho!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Beginning of the Ending of the World Ceremony

Dear Miss Mermaid received this lovely invitation and thought she should share it with you all. 

Beginning of the Ending of the World Ceremony
06:30 Beginning of the Ending of the World Ceremony
07:00 - Meteorites rain
08:30 - First tsunami's arrival
10:00 - Morning Meditation
10:30 - Welcome UFOs & Flash-mob UFO Dance
11:36 - Beginning of the Destruction (subtitled in many languages.)
12:00 - Eclipse and alignment of all the planets in the solar system (in color)


14:15 - Inversion of the poles of the earth (get your 3-D glasses first)
15:00 - Super Global Warming (bathing suits optional)
16:30 - Start of the human race ending (balloon drop)
17:00 - Reopening of the tunnel between the Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu
18:00 - Speech from the new UFO President of the Earth
18:30 - Sanskrit chanting
19:00 - Prayers, drum circle, & farewell to the Sun


21:00 - Evening Meditation, followed by singing & dancing
23:00 - Cheers to everyone (hot chocolate & cookies)
24:00 - End of the World (fireworks display)

Friday, December 21, 2012


Harley says "I will be three years old next week!"

I must be behind the times again. I just heard there is going to be yet another apocalypse. I think I've survived 3 of these by now.

I am getting good at this!

Besides the various apocalypses, I've survived hurricanes, hangovers, earthquakes, boat sinkings, boat fire, house fire, floods and Peebles Hospital.

I've probably left something out.

Those of you from the Virgin Islands will get a giggle out of the Peebles Hospital snide.

Peebles Hospital is that awful place on Tortola in the Virgin Islands where I stayed for a month, most of it in ICU.  My blog about that nightmare, is very light on them... I had no idea who was reading the blog, so I couldn't really say what was really going on in that hell hole. I am just forever grateful, I managed to escape from there, still alive.

Many of my friends have not been so lucky. In the last 3 years, MS, LW, SM and  EM, all very close friends of mine, turned up at Peebles Hospital seeking help and died.  (I've used only 2 initials).

What are the odds? That's the 4 I know about... I haven't lived in the islands in 3 years, and have not been in touch with everybody I knew there.  But that is some really bad odds.

So now I prepare for the apocalypse which may or may not come.

Kind of like last night's brutal storm. I was invited to go out to dinner. This is extremely rare for me and a serious treat. I dug out my purple dress and jacket, ecstatic to have an excuse to wear them. Even though they are second-hand, nobody knows that when I put them on. Just for fun, I put on my cowboy boots.  My feet were too cold for sandals, my clogs were way too casual and well, when I tried on the cowboy boots, I decided funky would be fun. I fiddled with my hair and face, put on some earrings.  I practiced walking around in my old cowboy boots because I don't wear them everyday, but I might start. They have the cowboy heel, so they aren't the speediest walking boot, but I have done plenty of miles in them. They are 16 years old, made of good leather and molded perfectly to my feet.

They were bought on a very cold day 16 years ago in northern California. I was still living in the Caribbean, but was on a temporary assignment that put me in the states. My socks and sandals were doing nothing to cut through the brutal freezing temps.  I went out to buy shoes, but took a tour of a western cowboy boot store. Big mistake. The first pair I like and slipped on, fit me perfectly.  My feet warmed up considerably, so I bought them and wore them out of the store with my sandals tucked inside the big boot box. That was back in the days when my budget was far grander than now. The cost of those boots these days would probably support me two or three weeks on my current efficient budget. Funny how life changes when you least expect it.

But fate happened...

The storm was coming with the possibility of 70 mile per hour gusts and flash flooding. It just seemed like a silly time to leave the comfort of the woods to go to the big city for dinner. So I postponed. If trees are falling and power goes out, I would rather be stuck at my motorhome, not 20 miles away in a friend's car. But for 30 minutes, I looked great in my purple dress and western cowboy boots.

Now the apocalypse is coming and I am still learning to remember how to spell it correctly.

Let's see...  motorhome is more or less in good shape, I have a few extra provisions, some gas, some propane, some food.  The generator works if I put the new air filter on it. Oh I better go fill up my water tank, just in case. I think it's only half full at the moment.

I guess I could survive a few weeks after the apocalypse.


I think I will have some chocolate first. Rich dark chocolate.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tis The Season

Tis the season!

I hope everyone is stress free, having a wonderful holiday season. There is a great deal of sadness around us, life is full of ups and downs and sometimes the downer is unspeakably tragic. Being grateful for the positive while dealing with the negative is a hard row to hoe.


I am still stuck on thankful. Waking up alive, the day is beautiful and I have more than I can do.

Never a dull moment.

When someone tells me they are bored, my jaw falls open uncontrollably. I don't think I've been bored since I was a small child. I once make the huge mistake of telling my mother I was bored.

She lit into me to read a book, go outside and play, ride a bike, go for a hike, practice the piano, play with the dog, clean up my room, do my homework, find someone to play a game with but for goodness sakes do not ever again announce that I was bored. There was always plenty to do.

I've made it a point to never be bored ever since, because obviously my mother instilled in me that this was a self-made tragedy not to be endured.

Indeed my mother was a busy person, working tirelessly to take care of a big family who was largely ungrateful. We took for granted all the wonderful things she did for us on a daily basis. We all sat down to breakfast at the table 7 days a week, ditto for dinner and lunch on the weekends. These were all home cooked meals. Besides keeping house without many of the modern appliances available now, she also took time to do numerous things for her friends, family and public. She volunteered for many extra activities that benefited our school, the church, the community, the Shriner's Hospital and those less fortunate.

Around the Christmas holidays she would patiently teach us how to make and decorate cookies from scratch, how to bake cakes and pies.These were often delivered as gifts but we always got to keep some around to munch on. She planned and made a huge wonderful Christmas feast for us to enjoy.

We never found out where she hid our gifts, even after we ceased to believe in Santa Claus, he somehow magically appeared late Christmas Eve leaving gifts for us to find in the morning. The cookies and milk we always left out for him, magically vanished, leaving behind just a saucer with crumbs and an empty cup.

Maybe she hid our gifts next door. The couple next door had long ago raised their children who were gone and on their own. I always meant to ask her where she hid Christmas. There were times when she might she leave us alone long enough to search the house. We never found them. Of course we usually only had 10 minutes to find them, as she only went to the end of the street to pickup milk or bread or something from the store or to briefly see the neighbors.

We were oh so lucky and we took it for granted.

Be tankful for what you have. 
Pray for those less fortunate. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mid December Ramblings

Open season on certain snakes!  Wow. I am not a snake lover, but I had a cat that was an avid hunter.  Trouble was, he liked to bring them home to play with before putting them out of their misery. Luckily I lived in the British Virgin Islands at the time, which claims to have only 3 snake species, none of which are venomous. However, with their increased international cargo shipping and their lack of control at the docks, I suspect that exotic snakes could make it ashore from other far flung places, simply by hitching a ride in a cargo shipping container.  I know Hawaii has had this problem and used cargo sniffing dogs for their incoming shipments. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is launching the 2013 Python Challenge™ in collaboration with partners to enlist both the general public and python permit holders in a concentrated, month-long harvest of Burmese pythons in the Everglades.

You can help native wildlife in Florida by being an extra set of eyes to spot nonnative species.

If you see an exotic species such as the Burmese python:
Take a picture.
Note the location.
Report your sighting. 
Exotic species sightings can easily be reported online at

Not only is Florida trying to rid themselves of illegal aliens, but this includes the python population. A friend of mine trying to buy a house here was told by his banker that he had to reside in Florida 2 years before applying for a mortgage. I had never heard of such a thing before. 

Lately I've heard some very sad tales. 

I was chatting up a cheerful cashier in a chain store and I said I bet she was glad for the holidays and the overtime. She shook her head and said all the regular employees had their hours cut back to part time while more part timers were hired to help out during the holiday season, so her paycheck was smaller not larger, for the holidays. 

You gotta be kidding me!  But she was serious. 

Another friend who works  at a well known camping outfitter and service center,  told them when he was hired a few years back that he had a weekend job and was available Monday through Friday. He said he would work on Saturday when needed but needed to know this on Monday, so he could reschedule his weekend work, otherwise he couldn't commit to weekends. They agreed to this arrangement. 

Friday afternoon rolled around this week, they ordered him to work Saturday. He explained he couldn't due to his other job and wished they had mentioned this on Monday not on Friday afternoon. His superior told him if he didn't work Saturday then he was fired. Rather than cave in to their terrorist tactics  he said he would fetch his tools and truck and be gone. Another superior decided they didn't want to lose him and told him he wasn't really fired after all. 

Huh?  Yes I called this terrorist tactics. I've had employees in my past businesses. I would never dream of making such threats to an employee. 

Is this how companies treat their employees now?  I was gone from the USA for 23 years, so I am clueless about the rapid changes made over the years. It used to be employees were treated with common decency. Whatever happened?  Did I miss something in the great big picture?

Another sad tale I heard from a cashier at a well known second-hand charity shop.  I mentioned I bet she had a beautiful wardrobe and I said something to the effect of I guess you get an employee discount. She said the employees of this charity were not given a discount because they were not allowed to shop in any of the stores at all. She said  if she was caught all the way across the country shopping at one of their stores, she would be fired with no chance of ever working for them again. 


I am not sure why I got on this sad tale of woe.  I guess I am still in culture shock, adjusting to the new American ways. 

No wonder I feel safer living in the woods. I am not sure the concrete jungle is safe for an optimist like me. 

On a fun note, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  

I have a musician visiting who is playing his electric piano on the patio while I type. The weather is perfect today but I have to stop writing and go do my workamping duties. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Super Easy Christmas Fruitcake Recipe

Enjoy *hiccup* this fun recipe from Dear Miss Mermaid.  Share with friends and enemies. Tis the season to make old wrongs right and what's a better way than over some delicious cake. 


Super Easy Jose Cuervo Tequila Christmas Fruitcake Recipe

 1 cup of flour
 1 tsp baking soda
 1 cup of sugar
 1/2 lb of butter
 1 tsp salt
 1 cup of brown sugar
 1 lemon juiced
 4 large eggs
 1 cup nuts
 2 cups of dried fruit
 1 large bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila

Sample the Cuervo to check quality.
Take a large bowl, check the  Cuervo again to be sure it is of the highest caliber.
Pour one level cup and drink.
Turn on the electric mixer.
Beat one cup of butter in a  large fluffy bowl.
Add one teaspoon of sugar.
Beat again.
At this  point it's best to make sure the Cuervo is still OK, so try another
cup just in case.
Turn off the mixererer.
Break 2 legs and add  to the bowl and chuck in the cup of fried fruit.
Pick the frigging  fruit off the floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets stuck in  the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the tah-kill-yah  to check for consistency.
Next, sift two cups of fwower, or seal saw.
Check the Jose tea-keel-yeah!
Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a shrug of super.
Whatever you can  find.
Greash the oven.
Turn the cookie pan 360 degrees and try not to  all fover.
Pick yourself up off the floor.
Dust the pookie pan.
I mean cust the pake dan
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the  bowl tout, finish the quivering cuervo and make sure to put  the stove in the dishwasher.
Bake for an hour or until drunk.

Drool leftover Cuervo over cone dake.
Be cool.
Slice friends and framily, curve with sake.

Cherry Mistmas, enjoy your fruitcake and Greasons Seatings.

***You still have time to forget the baking and send fruitcake from Amazon in time for Christmas. Be sure to send recipient a copy of Hurricanes and Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid, combined together, you will get free shipping. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Naughty or Nice?

Christmas comes but once a year...

christmas comes but once a year by

Ever wondered how a palm tree in your front yard would look decorated for Christmas?

Trivia: Today is 12-12-12, this century's last triple digit repeating date.

Apparently, it's put me in a goofy mood!

Merry Christmas from DearMissMermaid.Com

Today's Quote:
For every spark of genius there are a thousand more with ignition trouble.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Good Tidings

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

By the way... you can borrow my book  "Hurricanes and Hangovers" from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library on,, and if you have Amazon Prime. It's a nice perk few people know about.

Amazon sets aside a library fund which is split monthly amongst the authors if their book is borrowed.  This is in lieu of a royalty.

My book also makes a great gift for hard to buy for people.  If they love to laugh out loud when reading, then my book might be just the ticket to tickle their fancy.

Amazon currently lists 45 reviews of my book with an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 stars. Not too bad!

I have zero control over good or bad reviews. So if you haven't read my book, you can see what others said about it before you commit to a purchase. If you buy 2 or more, Amazon ships them free!

If you have read my book and liked it, then by all means, feel free to post your own five star review. :)  Toot Toot!  (Yep, that's me tooting my horn!)

Hurricanes and Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

More Information on Amazon Prime Click Here

Normally I post here every day but I had computer confusion. I think I've got it up and running again. Whew!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Tick Fever And Sailboats

Holy Toledo!  I've been achy and cranky, I just figured I was exhausted from volunteer workamping. But daggum it, I found three tiny ticks sucking on my back. I did some weird contortions to rip them from my body.

Now I have angry red welts there. I've been waking up at night both hot and cold, wondering what was wrong. Grrrrr...

In a fit of frustration, I took the dog's tick spray and hosed myself down, so I am stinking up the place.  I think the sheer smell of this deadly stuff kills the ticks.

The dog had a tick on his face the other day and he wouldn't let me remove it, lest I lose a finger or two in the process. For a tiny 6 pound dog, he can be frighteningly ferocious if he is so inclined.

tick fever by dear miss mermaid

I ended up hosing his fur brush with flea and tick spray, then grooming him all over. Once he was relaxed, I spritzed more on the brush managing to gently groom his beard and goatee right where the nasty tiny tick was. Within a few hours, I could tell his face tick had died, because it had suddenly deflated. It fell off while we were out walking, because it was there when we left and gone when we returned.

Yes, he does the monthly meds for flea and ticks, but still once in a great while, I find one on his body. I check every square inch of him at least once a day to make sure he hasn't picked up any hitchhikers.

Sadly, my stainless steel hemostats vanished this summer. They were good for tick picking. Those hemostats have traveled in my toiletry kit for decades. Occasionally I've also needed them as a tool for something dicey. This summer a friend and I were repairing things around the motorhome and used them, then lost them. I keep thinking they will turn up somewhere soon.


Ironically, we have had campers check out early and go home because they didn't like the ticks. I thought that was kind of odd, because you can't really avoid ticks if you enjoy the outdoors. You just have to be diligent in checking for them.  How I ended up with three on my back is a mystery, as I wasn't running around naked outdoors.

At least, not as I recall.

They make flea and tick collars for dogs, why not for humans?

Well, I have a ton of work today, then I am taking the next 2 days off, more or less. At least I won't be workamping much those 2 days, but I will be camp hosting as needed.   I have a long list of things I need to accomplish, plus I think I have company coming to stay with me. Be nice to spruce up the place while cleaning and organizing before their arrival.

Another old salt (for you landlubbers, that's a sailboat owner) with a vague schedule to arrive here sometime before the end of the year. I have no idea what day.

I took a trip down memory lane this morning, poring over old pictures from the islands that someone else took.  Their old haunts seemed to be my old stomping grounds. I astonished them by naming the locations in many of the photos. I think I was in the islands during the best of the best years.

Later, I drifted back to sleep. When I woke up, I thought I was back on my little old sailboat in the Virgin Islands. I was thinking I would climb out of my bunk, make coffee, go up on deck and watch the sun rise.  That was a ritual I often did on my days afloat. I think it started when I was working on charter yachts as a chef.

The captain and I would often get up at dark thirty, tiptoeing barefoot around the boat, making coffee as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the sleeping guests. Actually he made the coffee. If I wasn't up and dressed by the time the pot was ready, he would come poke me and whisper "coffee's done" as a gentle reminder. This was rare, as generally I was up on time.  Amazing, since we couldn't use loud alarm clocks.

We would soundlessly go out on the deck, sitting silently sipping our coffee waiting for the sun rise. We rarely spoke, if we did it was a soft whisper. It was a few stolen minutes each morning before we started our long daily work schedule of making fabulous vacation memories for our charges.

After the sun rose, I would slip below to organize the galley in preparation of breakfast for twelve, while the captain would quietly mop up the dew and salt spray on the deck and  cushions.

This morning it took a few minutes for me to wake up and realize I am lost in America in  my modest wheel estate, not gently rocking aboard my anchored sailboat.

The picture below is Cruz Bay on St John in the Virgin Islands.  For years I had a mooring here, where I kept my 30 foot sailboat Sea Rose while I was out working charters on other boats. When I finished the charter, I would come home to my little old sailboat.  Usually within a day or two, I would set sail to go hang out at Jost Van Dyke and other islands on my days off. My schedule was terribly erratic, I might be gone working for months, then have a week or more off, or I might be gone a week or two then home again for a week or so. Those were some idyllic days.

Oh what I would give to have that boundless energy again.

chart of cruz bay st john virgin islands  by

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Wine Shoes

And more goofiness...

My antics at the Publix grocery store were rather entertaining recently.

I expect to turn up on a video website soon. Heaven help me.

They must have been watching me by camera, because two clerks suddenly appeared out of nowhere to see if I needed any assistance. Maybe I  perpetually look bewildered in grocery stores. I am just not used to American food shops. They are over an acre in size!  It's maddening to get lost in there, wondering if I'll get out in the same day. The Caribbean stores I shopped in for decades are so much smaller, some only 10 by 15 feet. But I digress...

Let me explain...

You are probably familiar with the regular cloth shopping bags.  Well they also sell sectioned bags for purchasing wines. Each sectioned bag holds 4 bottles of wine, nice and neat in their own little pockets.  I don't own any wine bags. My efficient budget pretty much keeps me far from the wine aisles. But in this Publix I somehow got lost and found myself in a maze of bottled fruit from the vine.  So I took a tour.

That's when i saw the wine bags. Hmm...

I took a wine bag off the rack, pulled off my shoes then stuck them inside one compartment each. They fit quite nicely. I was wishing I had another pair, to see how two pairs of shoes would look and fit  in the wine bag.

That's when two clerks suddenly appeared from nowhere inquiring if I was OK, did I need assistance.

"Um, no thank you, the shoes fit fine, so I think I'll buy a couple of bags."

I pulled another bag off the rack, placing  it in my buggie. The clerks looked flummoxed, staring at my wine bag of shoes I was holding and my bare feet below.  So I added "I am going to keep my shoes in the wine bag at home."  The clerks looked nervously at each other, then back at me.  

It suddenly occurred to me that I was still barefoot.

My bad.

Retrieving my shoes from the wine bag, I put them back  on my feet, tossing the bag into the shopping cart.  For 99 cents, I could buy two wine bags and store four pairs of shoes.

Putting my shoes back on seemed to make the clerks immensely happy. They smiled, let out loud sighs, then vanished around the corner.

Later I realized I didn't  explain it correctly to them.

My RV seems to have no where to store my shoes. I don't have that many shoes, but I have summer sandals  and winter clogs, fuzzy house shoes and sturdy working shoes.  I shop for drastically reduced out of season shoes, so my boots were bought in the summer and the sandals in the winter. Eventually one season or the other rolls around, and I have something to stick on my feet. Apparently, in the good old USA, one can't just run around in public barefoot.  In my early days in the Caribbean, people often went barefoot all over creation. It was  a fun relaxed time.

But where to keep my shoes when they are not on my feet has been puzzling me. They end up scattered around the sole of the motorhome, then when I clean up, I never know where to put the darn shoes.

Now I can just stick two pairs in each wine bag, stuff them in a cabinet and call it a done deal. The shoes can stand vertically in the bag.  How cool is that?  I like it when a plan comes together.

Who says wine bags are just for fruit of the vine?

A fruit like me can use them to store shoes

In my little old mini-motorhome.

Not sure why they call them cowboy boots. 
Cows don't wear them. 

Saturday, December 01, 2012


December first already!

December 12, 2012 will be  the last triple repetitive date.


I wonder how many babies will be born that day?

I will be celebrating THREE years in my little old wheel estate.

Christmas Eve my crazy little dog child will be three years old.

Three years ago nobody thought I would live much longer.

I couldn't find anybody willing to take me to North Carolina to pick up the RV so the former owner drove it to South Carolina. His wife followed in their car. I met them at a Waffle House then drove it the remaining 20 miles to where I would park it.

The day I went to pick up my motorhome, I was so excited I remembered to get dressed but  forgot to put on shoes and showed up in my bedroom slippers to close the deal and drive it home.

The former owner rode with me, giving me hints and tips. Once I parked, he spent less than 30 minutes showing me how everything worked then he was gone.

At the Waffle House earlier, right after I paid for the motorhome, I walked outside to take a picture of it in the  parking lot, then I drove it for the very first time.

Three years later, I am still living AND living in the motorhome.

Life is GOOD!

Friday, November 30, 2012

I may not be Wonder Woman...

But I can do things that sure make you wonder. 

Here we have the original Class C motorhome. I think the back porch is a nice touch. (Or is that the attached outhouse?)


We had a wild crowd at Thanksgiving week, the campground was overflowing with campers, kids, dogs, bicycles, boats, fishermen and general chaos. 

A fun time was had by all, but the staff and volunteer (me!) were overworked.  I am creeping around this week like I was the loser in a brawl. Everything aches like I skydived down to earth and lost the parachute half way.

But it's another weekend, and the place is full again. Yippe doodle doo!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Thanks for all the wonderful and funny comments.  I read them every day. Thank you!

florida armodillo at faver-dykes state park by

I was trying to focus the camera to take a picture of the armadillo but Harley was leashed to my wrist jiggling it and alternately giving the armadillo a severe barking despite my efforts to calm him down.  Out of 22 shots this is the least blurry one. *Sigh*

bobcat faver-dykes state park florida by

The bobcat looked  resplendent in her Christmas collar.  Harley is used to her since he sees her all the time. He sat down to clean his crotch while I took her picture without interference. 

tioga montara class c rv galley by

I made Thanksgiving in my mini-motorhome galley. I took this picture about halfway through just for fun. The black thing in the corner is a 3 burner propane stove with a small oven and large broiler.  It has a bi-fold black metal door that is shown open in back.  In the forefront is a baby blue double sink but I have half of it covered with an extra section of counter that I can move around. I have no idea why this motorhome came with a baby blue sink. There is not a single blue thing in any of the original decor and this is the sink the factory included. 

All that stuff hanging off the wall is 3 years of owner modifications (me!)  The under cabinet coffee maker is Black and Decker circa 1993.  It works beautifully. 

Oh and besides cooking in the galley Thankgiving day, I also had two crockpots outside on a table cooking. My oven is only 6 inches high because they made such a huge broiler beneath it. I bought a 3 pound turkey breast to slow cook in the crockpot. It came out moist and tender. 

We were planning to dine al fresco because the inside of my motorhome is only set up for two-some dining since I shortened the dining table to make it slightly roomier inside.  The bonus is I can now reach 3 overhead cabinets. Before I had to crab walk barefoot across the dining booth cushions to reach the ceiling hung cabinets. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Please, No Yelling

harley rancher dog coat by

I woke up at 3am to 37F (3C) temperatures at Faver-Dykes State Park near St Augustine, Florida.  Thank goodness for the mattress warmer  or I would have chattering teeth. The 1500 watt ceramic heater is running as are two 200 watt heaters plus the propane furnace kicks in more warmth as the temperatures plummet. 

My 1994 mini-motorhome struggles to stay warm whenever temperatures go below 45F (7C).  I have shades or curtains pulled tight on all the windows plus I've covered the vinyl tiled floors with various sized bargain throw rugs. Well, 2 windows need shade repair. After 18 years, some of the window shades are just falling apart. 

I am bundled up in long underwear, a flannel sleep shirt  and thick fuzzy house shoes. Just for grins, I am drooling over flannel sheets on Amazon. It's fun to dream!

My dog Harley is wearing a sweater, tucked in bed on the mattress warmer underneath two big pillows that serve as his comforters. I grabbed a pillow to tuck around me, when a sleepy doggy head appeared, giving me dirty looks. I gave him back his pillow comforter. 

I feel so lucky because I remembered to top up my small built-in propane tank last week.  I can't remove my tank, but since I don't own a car, it's a mute point.  I have no idea how long I can run the propane furnace on one (built-in) tank. Mysteries!  I suspect not more than a week as the furnace is a hungry beast.

Good news!  I met a wonderful RV repairman, who fixed my furnace, generator and refrigerator recently. The dash AC still needs work plus a list of other things he is coming back to do at some point after he chases down parts.  It seems everything that heats or cools,  sucks or blows just stopped working in my little old wheel estate. 

Luckily he replaced one of my two broken exhaust fans.  They shorted out on my trip south when the 12 volt system died. I ended up meeting a repairman in South Carolina who fixed some of those problems, plus I bought a used battery when he determined my battery was DOA with no chance of revival.  He seemed a tad surprised when I inquired if he had a used deep cycle battery with life left in it, he was willing to sell. I ended up with his golf cart battery  much to the disappointment of his son who was using it to drive around the yard.  

Living on an efficient budget includes buying used, second-hand, rebuilt, re-manufactured, discontinued models, retail orphans, end of stock, non-seasonal, post-seasonal, old technology and so on. Paying less to get the same end result. 

This is the perils of living in an aging motorhome; things break, fall off, fall apart or simply stop working for no apparent reason other than age and gremlins.  If it's any consolation,  the repair costs are far cheaper than making monthly payments on something pricey, so *whew* I am lucky I could scrape up funding to get most things repaired and going again. I tried to fix it all myself, but it was a hit and miss, some things I could repair while others are just over my head. The list had grown exponentially. Argh!  Now it is slowly shrinking down again.  

Incredibly, despite the frigid temps, I have to use the stove exhaust fan now and then to freshen up the air. I seem to breathe up all the oxygen inside. I meant to put water in an uncovered crockpot overnight to serve as a humidifier,  I forgot, so I am doing that now. I left the other crockpot outside cooking garbanzo beans overnight. I meant to bring it inside so the heat would be here not there. I hope the raccoons didn't get into it.  

Between blowing my nose and coughing, I might have snatched up a bug from the campers. Since it was Thanksgiving, we had a full campground all week with lots of happy people building fires that often stayed lit day and night. It seems every child and adult that camped here brought a bicycle with them. Harley had to walk on a short leash because he has a tendency to tangle traffic on his flexi-leash. He is finally getting used to bicycles.  He seemed to think in the past they deserved a round of rowdy chihuahua rapid-fire barking. 

We worked long cold days at my volunteer duties, trying to stay on top of the campground maintenance madness.  We had over 150 campers with just little old me to clean up after them. Most days it was four or five trips to the overflowing dumpster.  The campers this week were fairly kind to the restrooms I clean. I surely needed that kind of bonus too.  I was having a very hard time completing my long list of chores. Plus due to the crowds, I was having to clean the restrooms several times a day. One morning, I entered the ladies room to try to restore order from the morning rush.  People sometimes have trouble with the paper towels, they pull one out and all they get is a tiny wad. Rather than throw this in the garbage, they often toss it on the floor then reach for a full towel. The floor was littered with tiny bits of torn off towels. A brief rain the night before meant people tracked sand and dirt all over the bathroom floor which has a grout problem. There are valleys where there should be grout, so the dirt and sand gets stuck in all the grooves making it look hideous. 

As I unlocked the cleaning closet, this lady came up to me fussing and complaining that the bathroom and campground was less than perfect. She was pointing at the dirt and little wads of paper towels everywhere.  I guess she had no idea I had just spent two hours shoveling up garbage since sun rise. Several campers had left their trash outside on the ground instead of in a receptacle. A  raccoon or something had spread it far and wide.  I was trying to gather it all up and it was time consuming.  Anyhow I stood there smiling like an idiot while she yelled at me with her list of complaints. I tried to explain I was working hard to tackle it all but she kept interrupting me. 

The restroom was crowded and fell silent as she continued berating me and other women began staring at us. She was blocking me from reaching into the supply closet to continue my duties. I am sure I turned beet red. When she announced she was going to file a complaint with the park manager, I finally  pointed to my nametag which reads VOLUNTEER above my name.  

I told her I was just a volunteer here trying to help out here and doing the best I could to catch up on the cleaning. (There is sometimes that unhappy camper that appears when you least expect it.) I saw her eyes gaze at my tag. Suddenly she went silent and left the restroom in a huff. 

If I could just get well and enjoy some solid stamina, I would be thrilled and grateful. I tire out easily which means I have to jump start again with a rest and a strong cup of coffee.  Maybe this is just too much work and too many hours for me in my condition, but I keep smiling and plunking away. I agreed to three months here and I intend to do my best but maybe my best just isn't good enough. How depressing. 

Speaking of coffee, I forget sometimes to warn guests about my strong coffee. Recently the troutman visited in his RV. I treated him to coffee which sent him sputtering in convulsions. Then I remembered to warn him it might be a wee bit strong. I offered him hot water to soften the blow, but he refused. It was funny to watch the grimace on his face. I really wish he would have let me tone it down to reasonable.

I wasn't much of a coffee drinker until I worked aboard a beautiful large yacht in Venezuela. The owners insisted on stout coffee that could dissolve a spoon if left too long in the cup. Then they laced it with a generous serving of cream. The crew adopted the same habits. That yacht had custom china including miniature old fashioned milk pitchers that not only had a line drawing of the yacht, but the name inscribed as well. Each place setting at breakfast for the owners included the tiny milk pitcher on a tiny saucer by their coffee cup. Refilling their coffee meant bringing them a fresh little pitcher of cream. By the time breakfast was over I might have a dozen tiny milk pitchers to wash. 

When Harley dog and I go out, I put his coat on over his sweater, but still he shakes and shivers. If someone stops us with questions, he often begs me to pick him up so he can cuddle in the warmth of my arms until we start walking again. When we come back inside, he refuses to let me take his coat off.  I may have to layer him in more garments, he just doesn't have enough meat on his bones to stay warm on his own. 

As I type this, it's still dark outside. Harley is wearing his camo sweater, all curled up next to me on a soft pillow with his fluffy blanket thrown over his body and head. I am still cold and it's 4am. I think we might go back to bed, just to warm up again. I  hope nobody yells at us today. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Uncle Funkle

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
Harley eagerly awaits arrival of his long lost Uncle Funkle.

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
Eventually Uncle Funkle shows up after a long hard trip. 

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
Uncle Funkle sets up camp in his little Amish built teardrop trailer. 

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
Harley and Uncle Funkle yack it up all night. 

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
"...And dude this is where I like to hang, see it's padded, has a great view and of course my soft blanket too."

travels with Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid
After a whirlwind visit, Harley was exhausted.
Bye Bye Uncle Funkle!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Greatest Gift On Earth

Thanksgiving was wonderful!  I cooked and shared. Be it ever so humble. I wanted to celebrate and give thanks, so to me, Thanksgiving is ultra important. giving thanks on thanksgiving
What came out of my tiny motorhome galley: Turkey, Gravy, Sweet Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Stuffing, and (not shown because it's on the table) Fruit Salad and Cranberry Sauce.  As you can see, we had already started diving in to help ourselves before I thought to take a picture. 

I have so much to be thankful for this year. First of all I am so grateful to wake up alive to such a beautiful day.

I have the four basics in life and I feel extremely fortunate and thankful. So many right here in America are struggling to have the bare basics in life. Others have so much yet seem enslaved by massive debt and/or misery.

I remember the four basic needs  as the four C's to keep me grounded. When my life turned upside down, inside out, I scrambled for the basics, trying to come up with an instant plan. What I managed to come up with,  resembled nothing of my former life.  Sometimes when things are chaotic, thinking outside the box could save your soul.

The four C's.  It's all you really need in life.

Cover (shelter)
Cuisine (food for the body and soul)
Clothing (protection from wild weather and wildlife such as other people)
Companionship (for me it's one crazy dog)

I am alive. I am happy!  I am super uber LUCKY!

I believe in life, the higher power, spirits, ghosts, jumbys, gremlins, a six sense, miracles, dreams and Big Foot.

Then I started believing in angels.

Someone mailed me an angel.  It was cute as can be.  It was an omen. Angels started popping up everywhere lending me a hand, helping me along, pulling me up out of the depths of despair with a nudge, a  shove and sometimes a thump in the rear.

Other people look at my life and see all the negatives, but I see the positives. I pretend that I am living the greatest life on earth with all the riches one could ever want or desire. I have a great imagination and it keeps me rolling along with a smile plastered on my face.

Am I delusional or overly optimistic?

I sure hope so!

Happiness is the greatest gift on earth.  If you are not happy in your current life, then you have nothing. 

And that's coming from little old me.

Thanksgiving day is for  GIVING THANKS!  I owe a whole slew of thank you notes and hugs and kisses to so many Many MANY people both living among us and those in the other world.

I owe a huge debt to  my angels and plenty of thanks too. My readers, fans, framily, angels, subscribers, patrons,  have nursed me into better health. The body may be failing but the spirit is willing and able thanks to one and all.

How did this happen?  Am I worthy of such good fortune?

Many people missed out on their holiday Thanksgiving dinner with loved ones. I feel so sorry for them. You probably know a few of them. They are the retail clerks forced into this early Black Friday madness so the big chain store corporations can make their profits a day early in hot competition with each other.

Last year it was a riot over waffle irons. Oh yeah. Life ain't worth living if you can't have a cheap waffle iron. 

Back in the dark ages, we celebrated Thanksgiving by closing down all the businesses. Family and loved ones were more important than corporate profits  in that magical  space and time. I miss the good old days!

Are we simply eroding away our most important American tradition through sheer greed?  Are chain store corporations hell bent on destroying any semblance of family values in the name of nailing down profits for their owners and stockholders?

I vote to KEEP Thanksgiving Day and make it a national holiday. Am I tooting my horn and waving my flag all alone?

Oh wait, it IS a national holiday.

Why are we allowing the mega  corporations to dictate that their profits are more important than one day a year spent giving thanks with family and loved ones?  What's wrong with Black Friday sales starting at a sane hour of 10am Friday, why does  it have to start on Thanksgiving?

I have never set foot in a store  on Black Friday and I never will. It's my one woman boycott. Count me out!

Thanksgiving is important. One day a year to sit down with loved ones, have a feast and seriously give thanks for all our good fortunes.

OK, let me climb down off my soap box.  Forgive me. Sometimes I just can't help myself. 



The first Thanksgiving held in America was a feast that lasted three days.

I guess they had leftovers too.