Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Support the Red Cross

I am dead tired exhausted. Frankenstorm was renamed Superstorm Sandy when she officially died as a hurricane.

My heart goes out to those affected by the storm.  It's the aftermath that is worse than the storm itself. The chaos, the lack of power.  Business and lives interrupted   Watching people you thought were sane and nice turn ugly and crazy. It happens sometimes.

If you want to help victims of the recent storms, donate to the RED CROSS. They are the best. Founded in 1863 they know how to help people the fastest.  I am always leery and amazed at the sheer number of  "new" charities that pop up after any and every disaster. So many have overpaid administrators hiding behind their facade. They can't possibly open up overnight and have the  manpower, experience and organization skills that the Red Cross has.   I've seen the Red Cross in action.  No charity can do what they do on a worldwide basis on a moment's notice.

I can't believe for the last 2 mornings it's been 43F degrees in Florida. I've had to pile up on the clothes and worship my little electric heater. My furnace won't come on and I haven't figured out why yet.

The night they evacuated the campground here, they asked for my keys to the little ATV I drive. They moved it maybe 100 feet, then lost the keys for the next 3 days. Poor Harley, as soon as they found the keys and moved it 100 feet back to my campsite, he ran over, leaped into it and acted like he was thrilled to have it back. Such a funny dog!

In the wee hours of the morning we had a unique fire at the campground, twenty feet up in the air!  Pictures coming soon...

The American Red Cross is continuing a major relief operation throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast to shelter and assist people affected by Superstorm Sandy. Millions awoke this morning to power outages, fallen trees, scattered debris, and flooded neighborhoods and the Red Cross is working hard to get help where it is needed.

Nearly 11,000 people spent Monday night in more than 250 Red Cross shelters across 16 states including New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Indiana, and Michigan. These numbers could increase as the storm moves into cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee with heavy wind, rain and snow.

“Our first priority is to get people the help they need – providing families and individuals with a safe place to stay and food to eat,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. “While it is too early to know the full extent of Sandy’s damage, we expect to be working with a variety of partners to help people for the next several weeks.”

The Red Cross has mobilized 1,700 disaster workers from all over the country who have served more than 25,000 meals and snacks so far. We have also activated 167 response vehicles and shipped in more than 230,000 ready-to-eat meals. This is a huge disaster, bigger than any one organization can handle and the Red Cross is working closely with multiple partners including a variety of civic groups, advocacy organizations, professional organizations and houses of worship to share their expertise and volunteers.


Monday, October 29, 2012


Someone sent me this picture from down near the East River in New York.

I don't know if this is for real or not, but it sure is interesting!

Tourists sightseeing?
Three Bored Bros?
Waving for help?
Toss me a life ring?
Future candidates for the  Darwin Awards?

The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of   the human genome by honoring those who   accidentally remove themselves from it...

You can Post Here About Hurricane Sandy Tales

Post Here About Hurricane Sandy Tales

Where are you?

Town and State?

What time and day is it?

Have you been shopping for the storm?

Describe your experience.

Have you prepped for the storm?

What did you do?

Tell us what is happening around you as Hurricane Sandy unfolds.

You do not have to join anything to post a comment here, but please include your location and the day and time.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunny Sunday in Florida

This park scene makes a great sobriety test for drivers.  Especially after dark. All is well here but it's lonesome. Last night I was the only camper in the entire campground.

Today we seem to have a lot of sightseers driving around Faver-Dykes Park.

Hurricane Sandy has more or less left our area, headed for parts unknown to land somewhere presumably along the eastern seaboard, possibly wreaking great havoc.  My friends are scattered up and down the coast, many in a panic about the mystery of the future weather in their part of the world.

I hope and pray the hurricane doesn't do the damage forecasted

As of noon Sunday, the sunshine has come back to this part of Florida.

We were invited elsewhere to a potluck party last night, so Harley and I drove the motorhome taking a pot of Cherokee Chili Beans and a bag of dog treats to the party. About 20 people were there, we built a fire, cooked fresh oysters and shared the dishes everyone brought.

Harley was the only dog in attendance though just about everyone said they had dogs left at home. He was thrilled to meet so many people though I kept him leashed the entire time.  I was proud of my little pooch, he did absolutely no begging and laid under the table quietly at the feet of the only pregnant woman while everyone was dining.

I guess the little fellow is actually starting to learn a few manners. He was exhausted long before the party was over, having a hard time staying awake, but he didn't want to be left in the motorhome all alone either. Finally he dug a little bed near the fire, then curled up in the sand snoozing off and on.

Today we have lots of cleaning to do.  Small tree branches are scattered throughout the park from the winds. We are both tired again after our morning of hard labor. I need more energy, more stamina.

I am not sleeping. I am checking my eyelids for holes. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy (6) Saturday at Noon

By the time I relocated for Hurricane Sandy last night, I was wide awake. I made a sandwich, fixed Harley a snack then we went for a walk.

Once he had drained his tank by watering twenty different plants to alert the new area that doggy was on patrol, we climbed back inside the wheel estate.

During the night we had a few gusts of wind that briefly shook the motorhome but nothing worth worrying about.

I closed up all the curtains and shades minus the front door which still needs replacing or repairing. Doggy and I piled back into bed.  Then I realized I might sleep right through the rain and flood the motorhome.  I got back up, closed up all the windows, then turned the air conditioning on low after making sure everything else was unplugged.

At the park service shop where we are parked, we are plugged into a regular 110 volt shop outlet, not the 30 amp plug we are accustomed to in the campground. I've done this before while visiting friends in their garden or driveway, so I am pretty much aware of what I can and can't turn on all at once while using reduced electricity to the wheel estate.

I believe the household outlet is typically 15 amp if nothing else is plugged into it.  During the night I just had the refrigerator and AC plugged in plus the laptop.

Astonishing we slept until 1045am! I was up and down a few times but the weather wasn't doing much. Now an hour later as I write this, I am still in a fog. It was cool, so I was able to open all the windows, turn off the AC then plug in the coffee pot. Harley and I took another walk, realizing we are close to the swamp which may or may not contain alligators. We stayed far away.

Winds are expected to be around 30 miles per hour with gusts to 45 miles per hour. My wind meter died, so I have to rely on my years of sailing in the Caribbean tradewinds for my guesstimates.

I guess we are safe and sound for now.  My heart goes out to those in the northeast. The forecast Frankenstorm is a frightening prospect.

A park ranger just came by and told me to move back to my campsite. Good grief.

I am tired all the time, but I am going to fortify myself with coffee then move back to the campground.

Reading what Bryan Norcross has to say about the storm is enough to make Halloween seem really frightening.  Not sure I like the new term "Frankenstorm" but hey, nobody asked me.

Bryan Norcross reports:
It's one of the ugliest looking hurricanes you'll see, but Hurricane Hunters and satellite measurements confirm that its still tropical enough to be a hurricane... and its on track to cause a pile of trouble.

Two atmospheric processes are counteracting each other at the moment. Strong upper winds are trying to tear the storm apart, but a split in the upper flow is causing, essentially, a strong suction from above which is helping the storm keep going. This situation will likely result in some weakening... which would mean Sandy would drop below hurricane strength. But then the polar jet stream takes over and re-energizes the storm increasing the winds and growing the size. A sharp dip in the jet stream will pick up the reinvigorated Sandy and swing it toward the East Coast. At least that's the plan.

There are some ifs and maybes in that scenario, but the best computer forecast models independently insist that this is what's going to happen... and the not-so-reliable ones say the same thing. So, beginning immediately, it comes down to figuring out how to deal with it.

The ocean will rise along the coast as Sandy makes it's way north, but the biggest coastal problems will come when the center makes landfall. We're unlikely to know exactly where that will be until Monday, but this is critical. The ocean will be pushed toward the coast north of that point and away to the south. The onshore flow of water is exaggerated where bays, inlets, or the shape of the coastline focus the water to make it rise even higher. The most prominent problem spot is New York City, where Long Island and New Jersey make an "L".

Raritan Bay and New York Bay and the south end of Manhattan are especially susceptible to rising water if the center of Sandy comes ashore in New Jersey or south. Much as we saw in Irene, it is potentially a monstrous problem due to the threat to NYC infrastructure and transportation. There are tough decisions ahead for the Mayor and his people. 

Right now, the odds favor that southern track. The threat from this situation is serious as a heart attack for anybody near the rising water.

Then there's the wind which is expected to be MUCH higher than Irene at the skyscraper level. The city will also have to be thinking about the threat to people in tall buildings.

The winds... expected to be at or near hurricane strength at landfall... will spread inland for hundreds of miles either side of the storm center. It's hard to imagine how millions of people are not going to be without power for an extended period of time.

Widespread rainfall of 3 to 7 inches with some places getting a foot or more will cause extremely dangerous flash flooding. 

And then there's the snow. Heavy wet snow is forecast for the mountains of West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania, mixed with rain at the lower elevations. 

The winds will increase Sunday night in the Tidewater of Virginia and spread north through the day on Monday. The best guess right now is that the peak winds will come in overnight Monday night... near high tide and under a full, flooding moon. A triple whammy.

Let me think, what other disastrous thing might happen. It's storm overload, I know... and nobody likes to think about these kinds of things. Nothing here is certain, of course, just becoming more likely with every new piece of data. But one thing is for sure... it this all happens as forecast, and you and your family are stuck in the cold and dark without food and light and communications because you didn't run to the store and get ready... excuses are going to spectacularly hard to come by.
Heaven help us all. Pray for a miracle!

Hurricane Sandy (5) Friday 1155pm

Relocation... sort of.

hurricane sandy by dear miss mermaid

I was sound asleep when someone banged on the door sometime after 10pm. I figured it was campers with hurricane questions. I probably had the only internet connection in the campground.

Much to my surprise it was park staff evicting the campground. At this late hour.

Just that morning, I had mentioned that if I were going to run from the storm, I should run right then. That's exactly what I should have done too. But no, I stuck around and did my workamper duties.

While all the other campers had a permanent home to go to, I live fulltime in my wheel estate. I am sure none of them were thrilled to be packing up at 10pm either.  A good bit of clatter could be heard around the camp.

I held my ground that I needed to stay on the property. Anywhere I went at this late hour,  was sure to turn me away. The staff suggested a hotel. I pointed at my doggy and reminded them the big Georgia-Florida game was a major weekend for Jacksonville and St Augustine.  We had people staying in the campground planning to attend the game. If they couldn't find anything  closer to Jacksonville, what were my chances of finding anything in the area to take a motorhome, a dog and myself at this late hour?

I feared I would be relegated to the highway and might have to drive all night long to Atlanta or where, I hadn't a clue.

As tired as I was and driving alone, I didn't want to be aimlessly rolling down the highway.

I didn't want to admit the truth to them.. that even if I found a motel willing to take me (highly unlikely) I probably didn't have enough funds to pay for it at this point and time. I am sure hotels wouldn't be cheap, if one could be found, given the big busy weekend in the area. Besides I would basically be paying to sit in their parking lot in my motorhome. I would surely be too tired to move to a room.

Also, being dead tired, was a big minus. I had been up since 330am, worked hard all day  and it was now 10pm. I had dozed off to a deep sleep maybe 30 minutes before they banged on my door. While I had secured many things about my patio, I had not put things away. Silly me.

Well, I didn't work hard all day, I worked as hard as I could. I have severe stamina problems. So I work and rest, work and rest, work and rest and at the end of the day I am exhausted.

I had foolishly believed the weather reports.

Shame on me!

I knew better.

When it comes to hurricanes, my crystal ball has always been the trusted source. So many times over the 15 or so years writing the local weather reports in the Caribbean, my crystal ball had proved the meteorologists wrong on numerous occasions.

Why didn't I listen to my inner voice that YESTERDAY told me to leave?

Oh well.

So in the end, it was agreed I would relocate to the park's service workshop area about 2 miles away.  I could use my adapter to plug into a regular 110 outlet at the shop and enjoy some electricity if I was very careful.

The rest of the campers had to exit the park and they did.

At least, I would be closer to the exit, the service area has trees, but a lot less than the remote campground. Should severe winds wreak havoc, excavating me from the service are would be far easier.  All the tools and equipment were located there anyhow.

In my sleepy state, it took me quite a while to get every thing packed for travel. Some of my patio stuff was simply left behind because it was super dark and I just couldn't see to pack the basement in the careful jigsaw pattern required to get it all into that tiny space. Doing it in the dark wasn't making it any easier.  The first flashlight I grabbed promptly died 20 seconds later. The next one was too big to hold and work at the same time.

Whether moving a motorhome 2 miles or 200 miles, the packing up and getting road worthy is the same.

I hope I don't sound grouchy.

Now it is 1230am and I am hungry and tired. I guess I worked up an appetite!  Here I am all alone at the park's service area. I am sure people will report for work tomorrow and well guess what they will find!  Little old me in my little old wheel estate with my little dog.

Too funny.

Every now and then a gust of wind rocks the motorhome then all is quiet again.

I guess you could say I am grumpy but grateful.  Angels watching over me.


Hurricane Sandy (4)

4:30pm Friday
75 miles south of Jacksonville, Florida

77F degrees, very breezy with 20-35mph winds. 95% humidity but no rain, just thick wet air.

Internet and cell phone are real flaky as is TV.  Normally we get 2-4 good TV stations, but digital airwaves aren't happy with the thick cloud cover so TV is not happening either.

Well, I am out in the boonies, so these things that work that well on a good day either.

Luckily we have power, water and sewer.

Harley dog is nervous, not sure why. He moves from place to place like he can't get comfy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hurricane Sandy (3)

Faver-Dykes State Park, Florida

faver-dykes state park by dearmissmermaid.com

Dry and nearly windless.  Dark.  A balmy 77F degrees.

When the sun comes up, I am going to refill my water tank.  The water pressure at the campground varies, so yesterday I was using the aid of the water pump and tank to speed up my compact washing machine. In other words, I emptied out the water tank and forgot to refill it. Oops.

The park does provide a washer and dryer for the workampers but I still prefer my own little compact washer for my clothes because it uses a pulsator system rather than an agitator.  This gets the clothes just as clean with a lot less wear and tear.

I did stuff my big fluffy comforter into the park's agitator style washer but it wasn't dry as of bedtime. The sensor on the dryer never works right for bulky items like comforters. So I reset the dryer then came back to my wheel estate to go to beddy bye.

I am trying to wash everything because of my embarrassing problem with poison sumac or contact dermatitis. I slept much better last night, I wasn't up every hour slathering on lotions like most nights lately.

Internet is flaky, cutting out often. You may lose contact with me completely at some point.

hurricane sandy approaches florida october 26 2012

From the looks of the grocery store yesterday, loads of folks wanted to make sure they had their favorite comfort foods on hand for the storm.  By the time I arrived, there were only 4 empty shopping carts available.  Some folks were shopping with their carts like they were on the interstate highway playing leap frog or at the state fair in bumper cars.  Throughout the store you could hear cart crashes.  It was comical!

More than once I dodged near collisions as people raced around as if the end of the world was coming soon.  I was frankly quite surprised at the pushiness of the shoppers. The store had a mountain of food with all shelves well stocked, so I wasn't quite clear on the concept as to why so many shoppers were so pushy.  More than once someone pushed my cart elsewhere while I was perusing a product. I turned around to drop something in my cart, only to find that someone else had pushed it 10 feet away. 

The deli was backed up with a throng of people waiting to place orders. All this on a Thursday afternoon that wasn't a major pay date.

I will give this particular Publix grocery store a 10+ for having plenty of cashiers on hand. Once I hit the check out, I was very surprised to not have to wait in spite of the chaos of the store in general.

Well, it's now 5:25am.  The winds kick up now and then, surprising since I am in a heavily wooded area. I am also in low lying lands, but hopefully no flooding.

I am a wimp!  I would much rather be on the road headed north westerly to an inland location far from the coast. I've been through plenty of hurricanes and would rather avoid this one.

If the forecasters are right, then we have nothing to worry about. Ha ha ha!  I know they are downplaying the storm, because this weekend is a huge weekend for Jacksonville due to a football game (Georgia-Florida)  that is wildly popular.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hurricane Sandy (2)

The east coast of Florida is under a tropical storm  warning all the way north  to Flagler Beach.

Our campground is booked solid, but already a few people packed up to leave when an afternoon rain storm hit. A few more have yet to show up.

I am just north of Flagler beach by less than 20 miles. We are under a tropical storm watch.

If I weren't the Campground Host, I would already be flying up the road inland towards somewhere besides here.

In the interim, I did go buy gas for my wheel estate. I went to the wrong station, they surcharged me for paying with a debit card.   I thought that was same as cash, but at this particular station, I was wrong.

Then we went to Publix grocery store and picked up a few things. Oh my gosh!  The store was an absolute zoo with people piling in the groceries. I even had a hard time finding parking in the lot for my motorhome.

When I finished shopping, Harley was thrilled that he got to do cart return again. This gives him a fun brisk walk and he learns how to be responsible by returning the shopping cart.

An irate driver who had glazed over eyes, tried to run us down right there in the parking lot, like she couldn't see a lady, a dog and a big shopping cart.  I  managed to let go of the cart, grab Harley and leap out of the way without injury. She dodged the cart, then I grabbed it again.  I  didn't mean to let go of it, but she was aiming right at us!  I figure Harley is worth a heck of a lot more than their car, so I saved him first.

We escaped death again. Whew!

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is headed my way. 

Where will she go?  There's a 50-50 chance the weather gurus are right or wrong.

I am in the boonies on the east coast of Florida, south of St Augustine and north of Palm Coast. 

Sorry you haven't heard from me. I've been wore out exhausted and I have poison sumac or something on my skin.  I am slathering Aveeno Anti-Itch Concentrated Lotion on anything that itches. So mostly I have a pinky hue about me. 

I am also washing with Aveeno Active Naturals Fragrance Free Skin Relief Body Wash.

Aveeno is made with oatmeal which is a natural skin relief. I guess by now I smell like breakfast. 

I am also trying to wash anything and everything in the motorhome to get rid of any possible oil residue from the poison sumac. 

Yucky poo. 

I feel like a complete idiot!  My gas tank is not full and I've always kept it full until I arrived here in Florida, been real busy, not had time, I forgot, the usual excuses. Here comes hurricane Sandy. 


Can be dreadful or a welcome relief...  I forget which...

Anyhow here comes Hurricane Sandy.  I need to go out in the current rain storm and buy gas.  Grrrrrrrr...

Otherwise I run the risk of being able to buy none if the power goes out.  In my current state, I won't have enough to start the generator which won't start on less than a half tank and stops on a quarter tank. 

OR should I just run like mad.  I am tired of hurricanes, giving my Caribbean past. But I feel wretched. Just plain old wore out, beat down. 

More (or less?) later.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adam's Underwear

Children think differently than adults. 

Isn't that marvelous?

Enjoy these words of wisdom from the pint sized crowd. 

A lady  was driving with her three young children one warm summer evening
when a woman in the convertible ahead of them stood up and waved.
She was stark naked!
As the mother was reeling from the shock, she heard her 5-year-old shout from the back seat "Mom, that  lady isn't wearing a seat belt!"

A  woman was trying hard to get the ketchup out of  the bottle.
During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer it.
"Mommy can't come to the phone right now because she's hitting the bottle."

A  little boy got lost at the YMCA and wandered into the women's locker room.
When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and clothes for cover.
The little boy  watched in amazement then asked "What"s the  matter, haven't you ever seen a little boy  before?"

While  taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary  school, the policeman was interrupted by a little girl about 6  years old.
Looking up and down at his uniform, she  asked  "Are you the police?"
"Yes" he answered and  continued writing the report.
"My mother said if I  ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that  right?"
"Yes, that"s right" he told her.
"Well then" she said as she extended her foot toward the policeman  "Would you tie my shoe please?"

It  was the end of the day when the officer parked his police van  in front of the station.
As he gathered his  equipment, his K-9 partner, Jake, was barking from the back of the van.  The cop saw a nearby little boy staring.
"Is that a  dog you got back there?" he asked pointing at the van.
"It  sure is,"  he replied.
Puzzled, the boy looked at the cop and then towards the back of  the van.
Finally he said "What did he  do?"

While  working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, a young mother often took her  4-year-old  daughter on her afternoon rounds. The child was  unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of  old age, particularly the canes, walkers and  wheelchairs. One day her mother noticed her staring at a pair  of false teeth soaking in a glass. As the mother braced  herself for the inevitable barrage of questions,  the young child merely  whispered "The tooth fairy  will never believe this!"

A  little girl was watching her parents dress for a  party.
When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned "Daddy, you shouldn't wear that  suit."
"And  why not, darling?"
"Because it always gives you a terrible headache in the  morning."

While  walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, the minister heard the intoning of a prayer that  nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his  5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton  batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the  disposal of the deceased. The  minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate  prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his  version of what he thought his father always said:
"Glory be unto the Father,  unto the Son, and  into the hole he goes."

A  little girl had just finished her first week of  school.
"It just no fun at all" she said to  her mother.
"I can't read, I can't write, and they  won't let me talk!"

A  little boy opened the big family Bible.
He was  fascinated as he fingered through the old pages.
Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible.
He picked up the object and looked at it.
What he saw  was an old oak leaf that had been pressed in between the pages.
"Mama,  look what I found," the boy called  out.
"What  have you got there, dear?"
With astonishment in the young boy's voice he  answered, "I think it's Adam"s  underwear!"

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dumpster Diving

tioga montara by dear miss mermaid

Home is where we park it.

Pardon the mess... but we live here. 

As you can see my tiny basement storage area finally exploded.  The patio was born.

The red chair in front belongs to a certain doggy. His quilt and some toys are in it. Other toys are scattered about. He likes for his chair to face the campground road, so he doesn't dare miss any action.

Poor doggy. His little 4 pound chihuahua girlfriend went home to Tampa. Every time he gets smitten with a new girlfriend, they flirt for days then typically she packs up and leaves him. She rode a motorcycle every day with her pet parents. She had little Doggles and sat in a pouch attached to her pet parent while they rode around during Biketoberfest. Harley dog didn't mind since he has an ATV to ride around in when he is on Bark Patrol, but he doesn't have Doggles. Maybe Santa Paws will bring him some.

The little blue chair at the table was found next to the dumpster. The brown patio mat partially seen in the foreground was found dumpster diving. This is dangerous living in a campground. I had no idea people threw away good stuff here.  I've found more, but it wasn't useful to me, so I didn't drag it home.

Harley found a pair of socks rolled up neatly which he snatched up before I could.  They look brand new. Lucky dog. He just plays with them.

We have a guy camping here this week though, who is thoroughly scavenging the garbage and the recently vacated campsites. So this week, I don't stand a chance. He is even collecting up any firewood they leave behind. Usually I retrieve it then resell it for the Friends of the Park.

Some of my laundry can be seen in back hanging out to dry. All those bubbles in the picture are a mystery. I took a series of pics and they showed up in 2 of the 4 pics. Very strange.

Maybe the bubbles are the spirits watching after me.

I am pooped, tired, wore out. I never knew this type of workamping labor  could be so ridiculously hard.  I had high hopes this would miraculously make me suddenly well, build up my stamina, make me strong and energy would return to my battered body.   But it hasn't quite worked out that way.

Last night I had to load, move, deliver, unload a half cord of wood. Somehow I got poison oak or ivy or something that makes me want to rip my skin right off. I found a teeny tiny tube of cream to help alleviate it, then promptly lost the tube and the dog's harness. I guess I need to catch up on housework and find out where those things wiggled. to. I still have a dog, so he wasn't lost in the shuffle.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Puppy Dog Wisdom

dog photo by dearmissmermaid.com

Wake up happy.

dog photo by dearmissmermaid.com

Do anonymous good deeds like watering the trees.

dog photo by dearmissmermaid.com

Do your part to help recycle.

dog photo by dearmissmermaid.com

Wear a sweater when it's cold outside.

Play nicely with others.

dog wisdom by dearmissmermaid.com

Take your job seriously. Others depend on you.

Help with the cleaning chores by picking up your toys.

dog wisdom by dearmissmermaid.com

Take time to smell the flowers.

dog wisdom by dearmissmermaid.com

Do a little yoga every day.

Be sincere when you need to apologize. 

dog photo by dearmissmermaid.com

Wear your raincoat when it's wet outside.

dog photo by dearmissmermaid.com

Make your bed carefully.

dog photo by dearmissmermaid.com

You may have to lie in it.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Your eyes are  bigger than your mouth (and mind).  

Little Harley tries to fit his soccer ball in his mouth while playing keep-away with his pet parent.


The roar of motorcycle campers are already  setting up in the campground.  Faver-Dykes State Park is  only 35 miles from Daytona Beach.

It's Biketoberfest October 18-21 in Daytona, Florida but riders go far and wide sightseeing across Florida.  Enthusiasts come from every state in the union to be here this week.  See Biketoberfest.Org for complete event info.

I am pooped!  This is my day off, but already I've been shuffling firewood all over the campground. We sell it to campers, but it's not bundled, so I  load it up in my little cart to deliver to the campsite unless they drive up to buy it in their vehicle (rare.)  Besides, it's kind of hard to carry loose wood on a bike.


Today's Wisdom

Super Glue is great stuff, but be really careful. I don't think it's intended for adult use. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pellicer Creek in Florida

Pellicer Creek in Florida is a fantastic area for paddling around kayaking and canoeing. Indeed it is a designated Florida state canoe trail. The creek and tributaries offer a beautiful place to observe the varied bird and marine life of the area.

Canoes are available for rent by advanced reservation at Faver-Dykes State Park. It is bordered by lush hammocks (an elevated tract of land rising above the general level of a marshy region).

Camping is  available at both Faver-Dykes State Park and Pellicer Creek Campground.

Fabulous pictures of many of the birds you are likely to see in this area are shown on this interesting blog "Views From Our Kayak"  when the author did a kayak trip up/down Pellicer Creek.

Faver-dykes state park florida photo by dear miss mermaid

Faver-dykes state park florida photo by dear miss mermaid

Faver-dykes state park florida photo by dear miss mermaid

Faver-dykes state park florida photo by dear miss mermaid

Faver-dykes state park florida photo by dear miss mermaid

Just for fun, a picture of Harley with the wind in his fur as he rides around Faver-Dykes State Park on Bark Ranger patrol.

bark ranger patrol at Faver-dykes state park florida photo by dear miss mermaid

Saturday, October 13, 2012

R.I.P. Harley

RIP=Ride in Peace, Harley is ALIVE!

This weekend at the campground looks more like an international airport with families from many different backgrounds. For a few days we are a tiny hamlet of about 100  transient people, 11 dogs and 1 cat. The other cat went traveling with her family and no new ones have come to camp yet. Of course campers come and go, the weekends are sold out, but we do have many visitors that book the maximum stay of a fortnight too.

Lots of tent campers with a sprinkling of RV's, trailers and a great big fifth wheel. Amazingly there are six Class C mini-motorhomes very similar to mine. So far the folks are just camping in them, not living in them fulltime like me.

My tags from the Virgin Islands on the front of my motorhome generate some curious questions.  I like to tell folks I drove it across the new bridge.  A few believe me too.

I sold firewood to about half the campers, ice machine still broken. The firewood isn't bundled up so I often have to deliver it to their campsite in my little golf cart type truck. It's a miniature truck, no doors, with a tiny dump bed in back, about the size of a golf cart.


Rest in Peace or....

Ride in Peace Harley

I have tried to be so careful with my little puppy but something went bad wrong. They switched little trucks on us.  I thought I had Harley securely tied in to the vinyl covered seat of the new old truck so he wouldn't fall out since there are no doors.

Today he suddenly VANISHED!  My heart stopped. I slammed on brakes. We had only driven about 6 feet.  I found  part of the leash under the tire and one very scared puppy outside the truck, just frozen in place like a frightened statue. I am not real sure what happened!

We spent a lot of time consoling each other. We were both so freaked out!  I thought I had his leash locked in, so he couldn't leave the seat  Some how he fell out and the flexi-leash unlocked.  Thankfully he was not run over.

I wrapped one arm around him as he sat next to me. I drove back to camp with one hand. We were both pretty shook up.  I really need both hands for driving this mini-beast. The latest one they gave me to drive is called a Mule.  Both little trucks are very rough running in serious need of a competent mechanic. I am amazed anytime it gets us home again. I refuse to drive them after dark, because I don't want to be left walking with a tiny dog and wildlife on the loose hunting for dinner.

Back home at my little camp site,  I fashioned up a milk crate that is securely locked in place with a seat belt woven through it.  I stuffed Harley dog inside of it, but he wasn't sure he liked the plastic open weave diamond pattern in the bottom. I could see where that could be a toe or paw breaker for sure. So I layered the bottom with one of his tiny doggy blankets.

His dog blanket is actually a super soft car wash towel that was being sold for cheap. I bought him one and he loved it so much, I bought 2 spares, because he gets real indignant when I snatch up his blankie for the washing machine. Now I can trade out the dirty for the clean.  Besides I've also discovered that the blankie makes a good doggy towel after his bath. He loves that too, the toweling off, not really crazy about the bath, just stoically tolerates it as part of puppy life.

Now he is learning to ride in the crate and stay there too unless I pick him up out of it. I don't want him climbing out on his own, so we are in training. He is also hooked in with his leash, so hopefully no more terrifying scares of him sliding across the seat out of the truck by accident.

After several trips of delivering firewood and hauling garbage, Harley is getting the hang of the milk crate.  He tried to hop out once, when I was stopped because he saw his doggy friend. But I put him right back in, told him to stay.  After a few minutes (I was loading up garbage)  I told him he was a good doggy. As a reward I gently lifted him out to go see his friend.  Now when I put him in the milk crate, I always say "STAY!"  He has not tried to climb out on his own since.

He sits there while I grab garbage or wood, then we are off again.  Often on the way back from the dumpster, we stop at the picnic area or the boat ramp. I gently lift him out, then we go for a walk.  I don't want him to think this is all work or that the milk crate is punishment, it's supposed to be just a safer way for him to do his Bark Ranger duties.

New campers giggle, snicker and point.

Look at that doggy riding around in the milk crate!  

I just wuv the wind in my fur as we fly down the park roads.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Furday Friday

Weather has cooled down at nights. I have to get my winter stuff ready.  I woke up at 3am to put on socks since my feet were cold.  I thought my puppy would keep them warm.  He had relocated under the feather pillow, which he was using as his own personal comforter. He is such a hog.

Hurricane Patty is out there. If I think she is going to scare me, I will be out of here in a heartbeat. I've been through enough hurricanes in my 22 years in the Caribbean.

We had two days off work. I mostly rested up my sore achy body. Little else got done. Now it's 5am and I am off to work again.

Yesterday some more dogs arrived at the park.  Now we have a rottweiler, a poodle, an American bulldog, a pit bull, two cats and my monkey. All the dogs are getting along fine except the pit bull.  That might be because he is tied up far from the road. His owners haven't walked him that I have seen.  The rest of the dogs and pet parents were  ambling around in an impromptu pet parade.

When this couple arrived in their Class C, they were trying to back it in, with the wife directing on foot while the husband reversed. We had stopped to let the RV get situated, rather than cross around him. Meanwhile Harley began a two legged dance on his hind legs. I said "Oh they must have  a puppy!"  Right on cue a fluffy poodle suddenly appeared in the passenger seat, hanging half out the window starting a bark-fest.

I discouraged Harley from joining in, luckily the American bulldog and his parent came walking up, so that distracted Harley into showering his love on them.

Finally the couple was parked. They let their poodle out who immediately came over to make friends with the bulldog and Harley. As we all started walking, a lady with a rottweiler showed up. Harley was literally a social butterfly, flirting and flitting from dog to pet parent and back again. He clearly wanted to tie the most knots the fastest in all the dog leashes.

People kept asking me "What is that?"  pointing at my little dancing pooch.


It's a question I hear over and over again.

I'm too sexy for my fur. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Girlfriend

My first day off today. No heavy duty  workamping chores other than selling firewood and general camp hosting.  I had high hopes of doing a long  list of RV and household chores including the stinky laundry. I've been sweating a river all week.  Instead I  was too pooped wore out exhausted and sore in every joint to get a thing done other than the bare necessities to get through the day.

Bare necessities such as feeding the dog, grooming the dog, walking the dog, playing and  napping with the dog. Whew!

I did manage to stumble in a daze  around the campground several times and even sell some firewood. Later we found a nice grassy spot to play tennis with doggy's new red white and blue patriotic tennis ball.  Harley is so spoiled!  His buddy brought him the new ball to play with last weekend along with some tasty treats.

Even Harley acted pooped, after about 10 toss and chases. Most unusual for him. Usually it takes about 50 tosses to wear him out.

Turns out he wanted to go see his girlfriend again and again and again. She is a great big doggy, more than triple his age, gentle as can be, weighing in at  90 pounds to his 6.  He is smitten with her so he drags me over to go see her every chance he gets.  They play, kiss, sniff, piddle, fuss and act like old buddies.

It's  hilarious to watch.

I figure any day I can laugh and smile, it's a GREAT day to be alive!

Now that it is beddy-bye time, Harley wants to play indoor soccer. So a few tosses of that around the motorhome and he is flat out snoozing.

Me too.

Night night.

harley the monkey by dear miss mermaid

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Note From The Bark Ranger

I am a woofcamper. I volunteer my duties as a Bark Ranger in exchange for pitching my pup tent in the campground.

They gave me an Otto to drive. 

But these gloves are too big.  I can't find the cruise control.  The seat isn't close enough. 

Perhaps I will get my pet parent to drive Otto.

I can ride shotgun. 

Speaking of my pet parent... What's taking her so long?  

I am ready to go do our woofcamping chores. 

I'm awake, dressed, got my ear popped up and I am waiting...  waiting... waiting...

Oh good.

Here she comes now. She has her shoes on, her uniform on and she is coming this way. 

Oh no.

She stopped. 

She has the camera out now. She's taking my picture.

OK!  One picture.  Now let's go.

Put the camera down and grab the keys. 

Oh no.

She's taking another picture. 

Honest to goodness if you don't put that camera down, I am going to prop my leg behind my ear and  lick my privates. 

Well that worked. 

She put the camera away. 

Monday, October 08, 2012

Pigs and An Angel

This past weekend, a bunch of campers posted political signs all over their campsites close to the camp road. It seemed like an odd place to stick up "Vote for me" signs out here with nature.There were so many in abundance,  I felt like I was driving to the polls.  I am truly amazed.  I expected a politician to come campaigning around  next.

I thought people packed their cars with camping gear like tents, sleeping bags, charcoal, food... but political signs?

"Honey, don't forget to pack the cooler  and for gosh sakes don't FORGET to bring the political signs!  You know how ROUGH it can get  camping all weekend, when you leave those political signs at home!"

You just never know.  I must be an alien.

An angel came to my rescue. He   read where I had been too pooped to set up camp, so he drove  over 100 miles one way to come help.

What an angel!  WOW!

I got up at 5am, and did most of my workamping in between gulping down copious amounts of coffee and water. I had just returned from the garbage run when Harley suddenly went nuts. I knew then my angel must be nearby. Sure enough, a few minutes later he drove up.

Now Harley dog had not seen him in over a year, yet before we even saw his car, he was shaking his body from head to tail, wiggling in delight, alerting me that something wonderful was about to happen.

My friend had an amazing amount of energy. In short order he had my patio looking  like home again. He also helped me fix the broken dish drawer. Just that morning POOF, I opened the drawer for a coffee mug and the drawer broke. Good grief. I don't need this nonsense.  That drawer seems to have a a different problem every 10 months or so.

He sussed out the latest  problem and  fixed it with a wedge of wood. It's kind of hard to explain, but actually he fixed it with a clothes pin for the piece of wood we needed.

camping with dear miss mermaid
My site is starting to look like home.

The picture doesn't do the patio justice, but there is the folding table,the patio mat,  four chairs, a side table (made from a broken chair), the picnic table covered with a table cloth (former awning material) and the old gazebo set up in back.

The old gazebo was being regifted to a friend of mine, they were going to put it up permanently in their garden, but they never came to get it. That was 700 miles ago, so it rode down here with me. The blue umbrella was meant to more or less replace the shade the gazebo provided.

Shade?  Who needs shade?  We are on day 8 of rainy overcast weather.

I say old gazebo, because it is falling apart beyond repair, but with a half mile of duct tape, up it went and my angel did 99% of the work. I will get to enjoy the gazebo these final three months, then after that, it won't be traveling with me anymore.  It's impossible to refold it now that it is fortified with duct tape at every busted joint.

Sadly,  Coleman missed the mark on this item. The frame is metal and plastic. The metal works fine, but the plastic fittings are just too flimsy, so every time the gazebo is set up or put away, plastic fittings break and pop, flying off in jagged pieces. Last summer, a jagged piece ripped into my face, leaving me looking like the loser in a bar fight.

The gazebo roof, which is fabric, is just way too flimsy. In under a year, it was ripped, torn, split,  and just plain old rotten.  This gazebo should have lasted years. Indeed Coleman built a sturdy canvas bag for it, but the materials used to build the gazebo itself are not worthy of such a wonderful heavy bag. It seriously makes no sense.

Coleman does sell replacement fabric for the roof, but with the frame being so cantankerous, it's turned out to be a thorn in my side and back too!

Every time the gazebo goes up, it needs loads of repairs to make it functional.            Last summer it was held together with macrame. Then when it's put away again, it falls apart and breaks in new places. So this is it's final UP.  When I leave here, the next set of workampers can enjoy it as is, or it can go to the dumpster. Right now, with the miles of duct tape piecing the frame back together, it's impossible to refold the gazebo frame again. Coleman needs to rethink this design altogether. Well actually the design is a marvel of engineering, but the final materials used to execute it are a dismal disaster.

Speaking of dumpster diving...

Oh, um we weren't on to that yet...

The doggy and I were hauling off the campground garbage today and there in the dumpster was a patio mat. So I retrieved it and put it under the gazebo. Together, they look great.

Oh so where do pigs fit in this tale?

I was going to cook for my friend but he offered to take me out to eat and well, that is such an uber luxury, I couldn't resist. It was too hot to take the doggy with us, so he had to stay home in the RV. Boy did he ever give us the saddest look of hurt as we shut the door and locked it.

His little face was just heartbreakingly sad. How do dogs do that?

We ended up at an Asian buffet, The New Century Buffet in Saint Augustine.  Considering we were just driving around randomly picking out a restaurant, we seriously lucked out.

When I saw the sign for "Century Buffet" I said "You know, when the Asian's give their restaurant a funny American name, the food is usually awesome."  I know that is a strange way to pick a restaurant.

But seriously, we went inside and they had this incredible buffet laid out of mostly Chinese foods with some strange American recipes thrown in for good measure.  There was also a sushi bar, oh my gosh, was that ever delicious. I was able to eat a big hit of wasabi. I don't recommend this to novices at all. Start with a teeny tiny pinch of wasabi, about the size of a pinhead. You really have to go into training to be able to eat a glob of wasabi. But for me, it's heaven's medicine, as wasabi does have many good health benefits I crave.

When I worked as a charter yacht  chef, Sushi was on the menu once a week as an appetizer. So I got in plenty of training dining on wasabi. Then when I used to sail with a friend of mine, we would often make sushi for lunch. If we didn't have fresh fish we just used a can of tuna. I know that sounds funny, but hey it was delicious.

So back to the buffet, we made serious pigs of ourselves. I felt like oinking by the time we left. The food was exceptionally good, freshly made from scratch.

When we left, there was a storm like you wouldn't believe. Thunder, lightning, torrential rains. By the time we got back to the campground, it had stopped again.

I opened the door to one very exuberant puppy who was full of love, joy, excitement and kisses. Of course our angel had brought him treats and a much coveted tennis ball. Funny how we left one sad little puppy and came back to one bouncing off the walls, full of good cheer.

You're home!  You're here!  Yippie!

We could all take lessons from a dog.  Put enthusiasm into everything!

Today, I worked every calorie of that Asian buffet back off again doing my workamping chores. I am pooped, exhausted, wore out tired.  I ache and hurt in places I didn't know existed.

I keep smiling and grinning, figuring I can focus on that and not on the pain. (But I am still secretly very grumpy!)

Silly me thought campers took their garbage with them or put it in the dumpsters. Apparently many just fling it around the site or pile it up in the firepit.  Folks, I got news for you... Budweiser cans don't burn and neither do a zillion water caps nor plastic forks.  I am trying my best to get this campground cleaned up with just nature in abundance. I never thought the very folks that come out here to enjoy the beauty would also trash it too.

At least they packed up the political signs. Thank goodness for small favors.

Sunday, October 07, 2012


Internet and cell phone has been real flaky here. Probably because of the rain forest weather.  I thought I was coming to the flat lands, but I might as well be on top of a mountain in a rain forest.

Well, here's a picture of my cute little work vehicle. Cleaning it up did little to improve the appearance. I don't think the past workampers washed it much, if any. Of course they may have been pooped out tired like me. This job is definitely well suited for a very energetic couple.

I plan to stick it out.

If...   I don't keel over first.

They will have to carry me out of here on a stretcher if they want rid of me. I don't think you can fire a slave!  Ha ha.

Harley needs to do more than just flirt with the campers. At 6 pounds and two years old, you would think he could do more than just be a friendly seat warmer.

Lately, I am just the middle man for iced tea and water. I drank over 7 quarts of the stuff, trying to get through my day. Oh and that's not including the 6 cups of coffee. By sunset, I was using tooth picks to prop my eyes open. Finally at dark thirty, I sank into bed with the porch light on, in case any campers felt the need to contact me.

They would probably have to set off a bomb to get me awake though.

ez-go by dear miss mermaid
Some people get a company car with their work.
I recieved an EZ-Go utility vehicle.
Gas powered and LOUD LOUD LOUD.

I turned in the skin tight uniforms shirts, asking  them to send over the largest Tshirts they had. I figured it was easier to work my way down rather than up. The new larger shirts actually allow me to breathe now. They are a bit more generous and long like a tunic. I don't have to wrap my bosom in duct tape anymore just to squeeze into the shirt. Whew!  The larger ones are more suited for this humid weather we are experiencing between rain squalls.  I guess I can make peace with the Tshirts.

It sure beats the heck out of trashing my clothes for this volunteering.

I still find myself tugging at the neckline every chance I get to stretch it out to a comfortable airy size. They might not like it, if I just sloppily cut a V-neck out of the collar.

Although I have a friend who occasionally finds a super soft Tshirt he likes. Then he  recuts the neckline into a V, removing the crew neck completely.  Next he painstakingly stitches it up by hand, all nice and neat. I've seen his handiwork, it's impressive.

He has sewn up his curtains by hand, made toss pillows and often hems his boat shorts more to his liking.

If I ever feel the urge to restitch the neckline, then I could restructure mine to a Vee. But for now, I am dead tired exhausted trying to keep up with the work here.

Even the dog is wore out. He naps every chance he gets, making me insanely jealous.

In the past I've tried to leave my campsite nice and tidy. No garbage strewn around,  and no dog poop either. My dog refuses to poop at his campsite, he sits there cross legged until I walk him far away.  Then he waits for me to clean it up unless we are in the thick of the woods where I can cover it with leaves or dirt. Oh if only dogs could take lessons from the cats, that so neatly dig a hole then cover their mess.

That reminds me of a funny Caribbean story. At one point I lived in an apartment building next to the landlord. He had a dump truck deliver a huge pile of sand for some sort of concrete project that never got going. The four cats that lived in the apartments, thought this was ideal for their outdoor litter box.  Within six months, that pyramid of sand was reduced to a nice neat round pile of sand, patted down with paw prints, cleverly hiding their cat poop.

I try to leave my site ready for the next camper. I thought this was part of camping, leave only footprints, take only pictures. It never even occurred to me that anyone was going to come clean up the site, I thought that was up to the campers.

I think most campers do this, but apparently *ahem* some depart their campsite like they are King Kong in a rage, leaving a huge mess for the  staff. Tsk tsk tsk. I've seen some disgusting things left behind that have really raised my eyebrows.

Well, let me pour down more coffee and get back to work. I keep telling myself if I can just make it through another day...

Saturday, October 06, 2012

In A Fog With Big Foot

Harley just loves having the ATV parked out front. He sat in the driver's seat for hours, begging me to take him somewhere. The ATV belongs to the park, not us, so I couldn't just take him for a spin.

He looked at me. Wiggled his tail.  Tried to look cute.

Then we heard a loud crash followed by running feet.  Oh my gosh.

Has Big Foot followed us here?

Last summer/spring in a remote area of northeast Georgia, we kept hearing loud crashes and thuds in the woods, which we attributed to Big Foot. I even had company visit that heard Big Foot too.  They became a tad spooked.

I'm not scared of Big Foot but he sure is noisy.

Harley and I  went on foot and paw to inspect this latest crashing noise. Inexplicably, a huge tree limb was blocking the entire campground road. I waited while Harley  marked it.

He wanted Big Foot to know that big little dog is on patrol. On to him. We know you're there.

The limb  had broken up into large chunks blocking all traffic.  Was Big Foot so tall that he simply knocked the tree branch down then ran away?

We went back to fetch the ATV.  I loaded up the tree parts with my leather gloves then raked the dirt road.  Harley sat in the driver's seat, guarding his ATV.  I wish I had the camera with me at that point, to capture his smitten little face.

As we were  driving off with the debris, I passed the ranger, which gave me a chance to ask him where to haul it off to.  Harley was absolutely thrilled to be riding around. He was a bit let down that this ATV is gas powered, not quiet electric like the golf carts he loves to ride in.

I think there is a large hole in the muffler because it is so loud, my ears were ringing afterwards.

We surely are not going to sneak up on Big Foot. He can hear us a mile away.

I skipped posting yesterday because  I've been either working or sleeping. There is a lot of labor involved with this new  workamping gig. More brawn than brain.  Workamping for the government is volunteering in exchange for perks. In this case, free camping for my mini motorhome,  dog and I.  It's another way to make ends meet, to keep the fun rolling along.

My stamina is just not up to par.  The pain is excruciating  but I keep plunking away. I came back from working all morning to make lunch. I was so exhausted, I  laid down for a little rest and was shocked to wake up 3 hours later not 30 minutes later as I planned.  I guess my body had other ideas.

Harley dog is confused (what else is new) but most of our work is on foot and paw.  He loves inspecting every inch of the park. He even climbs in the fire pits looking for old bones.  He isn't much help with all the labor, but he guards me while I work. If anyone comes by, he showers them with love. Always the enthusiastic meeter-greeter.

He loves riding around in the ATV when we deliver the trash to the other end of the park. It's a rough ride, but he hasn't bounced out  yet. I have him tethered in so he can't fall out.  I am thinking about working out a slightly safer situation for him.

The T-shirts they gave me for working are skin tight. After sweating all over them, I look like I am busting at the seams, entering a wet Tshirt contest for women.  I have asked for something more size appropriate. I can't get used to the strangling tight collars on them. I know the Tshirt is ubiquitous  but the few I own have generous V-necks and are roomy.

It has stormed off and on since I arrived 5 days ago. We have had rains, winds, thunder, lightning, fog and humidity. Mud, muck  and sand all over the motorhome. Nothing getting done about my RV repairs, no time leftover to even think about it.

In spite of the wild weather,  a whole crew of hardy campers turned up in the rains to set up for the weekend. More arrive Saturday morning, then we are full to capacity.

I like it here.  I just hope my body will fly right and work without the pain.

photo by http://dearmissmermaid.com
Look how thick the fog is!  The dog is barely visible a few feet away.
I still haven't set up my outdoor camping gear.
All things take time.