Thursday, January 31, 2013

Three Ring Circus Of My Life


Here is how the circus of my life looks at night. To the left, the bicycle is locked and hidden under a flowery table cloth.  The umbrella and picnic table keep it upright and mostly dry. To the right is my folding table and assorted chairs, most are broken donations I repaired. The lights were restrung like this one night so we could see to play Dominoes after dark.  It was chilly so we stuck the electric heater under the card table to keep our legs toasty warm. In the background, my neighbor across the street keeps his American flag lit up all night. Being able to live outdoors when the weather permits keeps me from going insane living in such a modest movable caravan cabana. 

Life is good. 


The guy with the flooded RV came back hours later after the waters had soaked into the ground with the sun baking the grass dry.  From the outside, all appeared fine. I went over to tell him why I turned his water off before he went inside to whatever plumbing disaster had unfolded in his absence.

Harley was on a long flexi-leash next to me. As I was talking the man gave me a really strange look, as if I was an odd aspiration.   He had a huge dog staked outside.  Harley wagged his tail in greeting. Suddenly his dog lunged at us as if his very life depended on it, coupled with an unexpected ferocious snarling growl.

I thought he was going to rip the stake right out of the ground devouring us for a snack. His collar strained threatening to burst open.

Thoroughly frightened, I jumped back.  Harley rapidly retreated  to the end of his leash in the opposite direction.  I scooped him up in my arms. The man was still staring at us. He hadn't said a word.

His dog was lunging and barking viciously as if to finish us off for once and all while the man just stared.  I turned to leave.  As we hastily walked away he said "Thank you" so I spun around said "You're welcome" and that was the end of that.

At least we got away alive.

No good deed goes unpunished. 

Obviously he wasn't a southerner. They would have had three or four lengthy paragraphs to say at the very least. 


Today while dog walking I made an effort to speak to everyone I ran into.  Some returned the greeting, others just ignored me. Do I laugh too much?  Have too much fun?  Is my cute little dog too ugly? Is my motorhome too small, too old? Do I live too large?  I have no idea. It's a different culture and I am having a hard time comprehending.

Perhaps it's just a reminder that maybe I don't belong in the city. Having spent most of my 3 years in America tucked away in remote beautiful places I seem to fair better with the wildlife than the city folk.

Later in the day I began uncovering the bicycle in anticipation of torturing my body again. I thought about returning the bicycle for a refund and forget this foolishness. I've had this bicycle a month now yet I still wobble around uncertainly.

Distractedly I looked over the bicycle thinking I should either return it or learn to ride it. Harley scampered up on the picnic table, taking a wild flying leap to land in the basket on the handlebars with a heavy thud startling me completely.

Good grief. He really is a monkey!  Look how far away the picnic table is.

He sat there pretending to be comfortable on his wadded up quilt watching me laugh. Luckily the bicycle didn't fall over from his crazy antics. 

I guess he has put his vote in. We keep the torture machine.

No wonder Harley is so sore some days.  He unwittingly abuses his tiny body. I rode to the dog park with renewed spirit. When we stopped at the entrance he remained in his basket while I locked  the bicycle to the fence at the dog park. No wild flying leaps.  I've been trying to teach him that he can not go jumping out of his basket at will. I guess now I have to teach him not to fly into the basket either, lest he and bike tumble over.

I picked him up to step inside the double gated doggy entrance. He sprung out of my arms, waiting anxiously at the next inside gate. When I opened it, he shot through like a clown out of a cannon.  For the next hour he enjoyed his freedom from leash and tether as he mingled with the canine pack du jour, running, racing, leaping, jumping in between gulps of water which dribbled down his beard.

Incredibly, two men got into a shouting match. The ranger showed up with diplomacy trying to calm the situation. A similar scene  has happened twice in the last month while we were in the dog park. 


The rag tag canine pack was getting along marvelously but the humans were having issues.


I shook my head in disbelief. A world gone mad. Maybe I am not the crazy one after all.  It was time to go.  As if on cue everyone left the park while the ranger continued to mediate the disagreement.

On the way home it struck me how absolutely awesome the weather is. I was wearing shorts enjoying spring like weather in January. Feeling so lucky I managed to add another tortuous mile or so to our ride. Cars still frighten me. I wobble around uncertainly, but Harley sits up front in his basket, with complete confidence we will arrive alive.  I am so fortunate to have my little buddy.

Circus and all. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What Would You Do?

Smoke is so hard to photograph!  But in this case, you can't even see across the street. This was the result of yesterday's prescribed fires.  I surely wish I had been alerted in advance.  The entire campground was coughing and sputtering. The dog and I were plenty sick from the fumes. Today I have a lot of cleaning up to do.

This morning I was home in my wheel estate, trying to force myself into some much needed housekeeping when I heard a loud waterfall.

Two lots down was a big Class A RV with water gushing out of it like a miniature Niagara Falls, rapidly flooding the ground. I ran over, turned off the water supply, then banged on their door.  Oops, I stepped in a big muddy hole. Yucky poo!  Now my shoe and foot are filthy and wet.

It's true, no good deed goes unpunished.

I banged on the door again. Nobody was home.

A couple walking by watching the waterfall told me NOT to turn their water off.

Huh?  Are you serious?

I explained about the flood waters coming out of their RV and that's why I turned their water off.

They admonished me not to mess with other people's stuff.

Huh?  Did I hear that right?

Well, I can't just sit by idly when someone is in need of a Good Samaritan during an emergency.  A few minutes after I shut the water off, the water flow stopped. But I of course have no idea what the inside of their RV looks like by now, but it can't be pretty.

If my motorhome sprung a leak in my absence I would surely appreciate someone shutting the water down for me. I wouldn't accuse them of messing with my stuff.

Next I called the office (over a mile away) telling them the situation. I asked them to check if those people might have a cell phone on file, maybe the office could call to alert them there is a problem with their RV. The lady said she was making a note of it. Not sure if that means she will do something or not, but at least I put in my two cents effort.

You never know if the people went out for breakfast or if they left in their car on a lengthy trip.  I've seen quite a few people leave their RV's for several days to go visit somewhere else.  Here again, if I were out and about and the office called me to tell say my RV had a serious water leak, I would be most appreciative and dash back home.

I surely hope the owners are not mad at me for messing with their stuff.  All I did was turn the water off. I didn't take an ax to their door or begin renovations. That would be messing with their stuff in my opinion.

What would you do?  Sit back and watch the water pouring out of their RV or turn the water off for them?

I stand behind my decision and time will tell if I am in trouble for doing what I perceived to be "the right thing" in an emergency.

Pay it forward. You just never know what can happen next.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I've been upstaged. Here is a guy on his shiny red tricycle, complete with a bimini top, a basket in back and a spare tire too. The picture isn't really crisp because I was photographing this out my friend's car window a few week's back. The guy was about 100 feet away and we were driving, so it's a miracle I caught the shot at all.

No bike riding for me today, sad to say.

I woke up sputtering and coughing, flying out of bed to put out the fire. I was sure I was on fire and it frightened me something awful. Ashes were on my counter, the smoke was thick.

*Cough* *Cough* *Cough*

After running around my motorhome both inside and out, I realized it was not me on fire but something beyond the campground.  A check with the park ranger revealed that today, while winds were blowing a steady 20 or more miles per hour, the forest service had decided to have a prescribed burn.


The air in the campground was pretty thick, like we were stuck in a fog. What a mess. The ashes had blown inside because my windows are open.  I love *cough* fresh *sputter*  air.

Other than that we've had wonderful summer weather lately. I was delighted to be barefoot and wearing shorts in late January in Florida. My little old motorhome is not set up for frigid temperatures (and neither am I.)

Harley dog seemed affected by the thick smoke as much as me. He was lethargic much of the day. We tried to go on a brisk walk *cough* this morning *cough* but we both felt like dog poop.

I thought about breaking camp to go somewhere else for the day, but I just didn't have the energy. I figured I would need to drive a good ways to get far from the thick smoke.

Usually  my motorhome is more or less ready to drive away on ten minute's notice, assuming I can leave my outdoor patio junk laying about, like to go grocery shopping or something, but not lately.  I just didn't have the energy to pick up and move today.

Tonight was supposed to be some sort of party in the park where you wear pajamas and go dancing. Good grief. It sounds like a singles mixer, but most of the residents are couples. If there are any other singles in the campground I haven't met them. It seems to be a very private crowd here. Later I saw someone had penned on the notice that it moved to Friday night.

Sometimes I think I am invisible. I speak to what few people I see out and about when walking the dog, but many don't return my greeting. Is there some sort of social code I am breaking?  Or is it because I am a southerner and there doesn't seem to be any other southerners in the park right now. I have no idea. Or is it because I am single?  Who knows? I keep smiling and saying hello!  Silence in return. What am I doing wrong?

Many of the park campers are hermetically sealed inside their lavish RV's with no open windows and no outside accouterments for hanging about. My neighbor made a big deal one day, that he and his wife were going to sit outside and read. He brought out two chairs and they sat around reading for an hour, then they put their chairs away and went back inside.

This picture was taken before the smoke. I took some today of the thick smoke but can't find my camera cord to download them to the computer. I guess I need to reorganize my stuff. It was here just the other day. But with this thick smoke, I can't see much of anything.

As you can see I don't have much grass because I am under two massive oak trees but there is nice grass behind me and Harley loves to play in it on his tether.

I just love not needing heat nor air conditioning. I like the open windows and the fresh air. At least when they aren't having prescribed burnings. Grrrrr...

To make matters even worse, I am out of emergency dark chocolate!  So I may have to get this rig in gear and go shopping at some point. One can not live without emergency chocolate. Especially for days like today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Doggy Bicycle Basket

Oh the life of a puppy dog, riding around in a bicycle basket. Yes, that's his quilt in there with him. He doesn't like the basket "plain" but needs his comforts.

He fell asleep on the way home. When I got off the bicycle and saw him sound asleep in the basket, I unlocked the motorhome, found my camera, came back outside and snapped this picture.

Two hours earlier, we rode the shiny red bicycle to the doggy park, so I could torture my legs some more. It's faster than walking there, but I am oh so sore.  My body thinks exercise is a dirty word.

Harley got  in some good hard playing, palling around with the canine pack du jour.He loves to visit with the humans too.  He sometimes races up on someone's lap and slaps a doggy kiss on them before they know what's happened. Since the humans visiting there are typically dog owners, they usually laugh at his bold friendliness. He isn't happy until he has flirted with everybody. Such a show man.

Lucky for Harley, I was in such pain from the ride over, that we stayed in the off leash park almost two hours. I don't have to chase him down to go home.  I don't even call him.

When I am ready to go, I just walk to the gate.  Harley who has completely ignored me for his entire visit, suddenly appears, ready to go with me. How does he do that?

Other pet parents don't have it so lucky. One lady went to grab her puppy to go home but puppy wasn't ready to go, so he raced all over the park while she chased him. Harley thought this was a new game, so he joined in with the race. Now other dogs began running too and the woman was still pursuing her errant dog with the entire  pack trotting with her. Finally she burst out laughing, which startled her dog long enough for her to swoop down and grab him.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Strip Down

Sometimes I get distracted and confused. This morning was a bit rougher than most.

Suddenly I had to attend a funeral many miles away. Very early this morning, the taxi cab deposited me at the airport.  I still had to buy my ticket.  I stood in line finally making it to the ticket agent. I found  out there was only one ticket left on my flight which was departing shortly.

I would just make the funeral in the nick of time.

When I was ready to pay for my ticket, the young man handling my transaction startled me by saying "Strip down, facing me".

It's been a few years since I've flown anywhere. I've heard grumblings that Homeland Security is out of control but this was totally unexpected.

Good grief. At my age, things tend to sag, bag and wrinkle.

I mean there was no privacy, people were in line behind me and milling about everywhere.

Knowing I might miss my flight completely if I didn't quickly comply, I removed my shoes, black dress and undies as rapidly as I could, standing there naked awaiting inspection.

People began shrieking, laughing, pointing and taking pictures.

Suddenly security surrounded me. I was carted off and grilled intensely in a small office by an army of people who could barely contain their giggles and smirks.

I was going to miss my flight after all.

Matter of fact, I am now on the no-fly list.

Looks like I'm going to miss the funeral entirely.

I've even been banned from the airport with suggestions I should take the bus or train in the future. 

Turns out the ticket agent was talking about my credit card when he said "Strip down, facing me".

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Watching The Crazy Parade Go By

My engineering friend will get a kick out of this picture...

My compact washing machine does a righteous job of getting things super clean.  It just does so in very small batches. 
So today I washed the towels and wash cloths. 
I poked around my toy box and came up with this funky system to hang my stuff out to dry.  Shown is 5 towels and 7 wash cloths, hanging on clothes hangers, some with the aid of clothes pins.  The little blue spring clamps keep things separated when the wind blows. The orange jumbo spring clamp keeps the whole shebang from falling on the ground.
That's my built-in roof ladder that is attached to the rear of my motorhome. The other ladder is a step ladder gift from my Brazilian friends.

Life is good!  I just can't say it enough.

Yesterday I found myself agitated.

Self I said, you've got to find out what's agitating you and reverse that. Life is short, be happy!

I decided torture was the answer... maybe that would improve my disposition.

Somehow I raised my achy legs up over the bicycle and off we went to the dog park. Harley dog was a bit fussy. Apparently his sweater wasn't enough warmth for the brutal wind of me peddling the bicycle. Or maybe I was scaring him. Or maybe he was anticipating the dog park or maybe he just wanted to tell me I was a lousy bicycle rider.  Either way, he whined and moaned and fussed.  A few times he tried to prop himself up on his front legs to hang out of the basket while I admonished him "Sit!  This is no time to be doing monkey acrobatics."

I have no idea why I am having so much trouble riding the bicycle. Maybe that old head injury  knocked my bicycle skills ajar. I keep forgetting to use the hand brakes!  Good grief.

No wonder the doggy is scared.

Maybe he doesn't like the crash landing near-misses.

Sometimes I can't seem to get the bicycle started. Put your feet on the pedals and push!  Why is that so hard for me?  Sometimes it takes me several tries before I can get going at all.  I didn't have this trouble as a child.

But that was back in the dark ages.

Other times I fear the road just isn't big enough for me to make a simple turn.   Of course having a 6 or 7 pound dog riding in the basket on the handlebars does add weight and problems  But even when I ride without the puppy dog, I still have trouble steering around corners, making turns.

Recently a new camper moved next door. She has a little dog and a bicycle. Her dog rides on the back of her bicycle in a basket. No leash, just sits there pretty as you please as she pedals away.

I know it would be easier to ride the bike if Harley sat in a basket in back instead of in front. But he is such a monkey, prone to antics, that I fear he will do something foolish to injure us both. Maybe next year... we can try this new feat.

If anything, I provide endless entertainment around the campground and county park. Sometimes I get heckled which I find rather odd. Why would anyone want to pick on me for riding my bicycle?  Or am I just too comical that some folks can't resist?

One day I was trying to do  loops around section A of the campground.  It's probably about a quarter mile around loop A.  I wasn't feeling so hot.  I figured if I just did loops around this section where my little old wheel estate is parked, I wouldn't have far to crawl when I tuckered out or fell off the bike. For good measure, I had loaded up the dog, because I want to get used to his weight in the front basket for when I tackle the brutal two mile round trip ride to the dog park.

On my third loop, I was feeling very proud of myself, in spite of my thighs which were screaming "Ouch!  Oh!  Ouch! Stop this foolishness!"

Suddenly an old geezer who was sitting out in front of his RV yelled at me "You're going to get dizzy if you keep riding around here!"

For some silly reason I was mortified and deflated.  I went straight home and rested. I didn't want to ride by the old fart again.

For good measure I locked up my bicycle in case he coveted thy neighbor's torture toy...

Matter of fact, I am obsessive about locking up the bicycle. Even at the dog park, I lock up the bike for fear someone young and bold might hop on it and take off, never to be seen again, while I am still mopping up drool off my face.

This park seems 100% safe. Goodness gracious, we are patrolled by park rangers, the sheriff, the neighborhood watch, the police, the wildlife management and other official looking vehicles. At night I often cat nap. When I am awake, I sometimes slide the shade up at the window to see what's happening in the wee hours of the night. I often do see the ranger or police driving by every half hour or so.

Recently I misjudged sunrise, thinking it was imminent. I set out walking with a small flashlight dangling around my neck, my puppy on a leash and a small bag of garbage. Sure enough, we were about twenty feet down the road, headed towards the dumpster when the ranger came driving by at about 5 miles per hour. He stopped, all cheerful and chatty.

I suppose his night shift can get pretty lonesome.  I told him I was out walking in anticipation of seeing the sunrise. He looked at his watch and announced I had about two hours to wait. Oops. I wasn't quite planning a walk nearly that long.  Nonetheless I felt pretty safe, so we walked to the dumpster then came back to my little old caravan cabana.

Puppy was ready for a nap, so we climbed back in bed. We slept right through the sunrise. Oh well, I guess the sun managed to come up without me watching and waiting.

Another day.

Another miracle.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Outdoor Circus

dearmissmermaid at wickham park in melbourne florida

The circus has come to town!


My playground always looks like the circus has set up. That big fancy rig with the dark graphics?  That is NOT me. That is the neighbors, who are probably sorry they ended up parked next to me and my silly little dog and my oh so comfy al fresco den, dining, study, office, work room and so on.

Look at all that shade I have on my lot. That's because the rig next door appears to be twice as tall as my little old mini-motorhome. A day later, when this rig left town, I suddenly had loads of sunshine!  In all reality they are probably only three or four feet taller than my rig, which mine measures about 9 feet tall, but with all the junk on the roof, it comes to ten-and-a-half-feet. They look like they are fourteen or more feet tall with all their stuff on the roof.

For you sticks and bricks folks, many RV's have equipment sticking up on the roof, like the overhead air conditioning unit, a chimneys for the propane refrigerator, a plumbing vent, overhead exhaust vent covers and so on. The TV antenna is typically built-in too, but it's on a crank system where you can lower it down for driving, otherwise it might just blow right off as you roar down the highway.

I hope to get back to writing everyday. I've been so busy with getting well and having company who has been extremely tolerant of my erratic energy. Nothing worse than trying to entertain company while being sickly too, but my friend has known me for ages and knows this can sometimes happen, so they weren't too freaked out.

One day I fell asleep in their car on the way to the grocery store!  Sheesh. Luckily they thought it was pretty funny. Not only did I fall asleep, but the doggy curled up in my lap and slept too. Oh aren't we just a barrel of fun.

My friend loves my little doggy, so he got to ride in his car every where. He often sits on the back shelf behind their back seat, looking like a stuffed toy with a bobbing head.

One day we were returning to the car when I exclaimed "Good doggy!  You guarded the car well!"  What's even funnier is that my friend's car is a good 20 years old. Maybe older.

I heard giggles and realized a family was sitting in their car nearby, amused that I was thrilled that a 6 pound dog could guard an old car so effectively.

My dear friend took me out to a lovely Asian buffet. After we got back to the motorhome and campsite, I opened up my purse and discovered that *OOPS* a little piece of meat had fallen inside, so I gave it to the dog as a treat. He was thrilled.

Good grief, I must strive to be neater.

I would hate to make the headlines: "Woman Arrested For Stealing Meatball".

Another day I was cooking, and chopping up food when a small piece of cheese rolled off the counter and onto the floor. My friend said "You dropped something!"

I said "Yes and hopefully the little janitor will come along to clean it up."

I guess the doggy is a mind reader. He leaped out of his chair coming into the tiny kitchen area to devour the "mess" I had made.

Good doggy, great janitor!

Life is good.

Well, I hate to admit it, but I am exhausted from recuperating, so I am going to lay down for a cat nap to rejuvenate my energy after I hang up the wet laundry to dry.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Can See Clearly Now

harley dog tshirt by

I can see clearly now!  How scary is that?  Boy does my doggy ever look rough...

Clearly, I should have seen an eye doctor much sooner.

scary dog by

It's true.

Some days I am so clumsy I can trip over a cordless phone.

I've had a friend visiting with a car, which they have driven me many places. There is always confusion as we try to find our way around.  That's when I discovered I can't read the freaking street signs.  I knew this before, but just assumed there was a conspiracy by government to save money by making the street signs so tiny as to be useless for reading unless you were three feet away.

Small wonder I get so fatigued driving my camper around.  I don't own a car but Santa Claus brought me a bicycle and I wasn't feeling overly confident on it, but I thought it was because I broke my non-prescription sunglasses and had none to wear.  I blamed it on the sunshine and lack of eye protection.  I had bought some cheap sunglasses, but they were awful and broke the 2nd or 3rd time I wore them.

My prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses ceased to be useful over a year or two or so  ago. Money was super tight so I didn't get an eye exam and replace them. I just thought my eyes were much stronger now.  I was hoping prescription spectacles were a thing of the past.


What was I thinking?

Profound headaches and the fact my friend could read the street signs while I could not, sent me scurrying for an eye exam.

The eye doctor was astonished I was driving anything around at all.

Well, I do say my prayers before I drive my motorhome or bicycle. Maybe it was sheer luck and the strength of prayers that got me this far without serious injury to anyone.


Just goes to show...  there are angels looking out for fools like me.

Now I have eyeglasses and it's amazing what I can see now!  Whee!

It's like landing on a new planet. Everything is so different.

I can see clearly now. WOW!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Big Bird

wildlife in wickham park in melbourne florida by http://DearMissMermaid.Com
Looking out my bedroom window were Sand Hill Cranes picking through the grass.
Life is good. 

I am starting to feel so much better now. I had to skip over writing and riding my shiny red bicycle because I had a major boo-boo on my rib cage that is still hideous to look at, but at least it's no longer painful. I can almost think clearly now, but I am weak.  Sheesh.

The dressing over the wound requires copious amounts of tape. The tape has really irritated my skin something awful. So from a little boo-boo to a big major boo-boo. I've had surgery there twice to no avail, so this time I put up with the mega lump and opted out of surgery. I also made it through without any pain pills at all!  For me this is a mega feat. I try to avoid all pain pills in favor of alternate treatments. Pain pills can do so much damage to kidneys and liver, parts I would like to keep intact.

Growing old ain't for sissies!

And I'm not even old...

Harley dog was sick too, he tossed up his cookies, then ate next to nothing for a few days, just being extremely lethargic and giving me a fright. The food bowl stayed full but I refreshed his water every few hours to encourage him to at least drink something.  He just laid around doing nothing, which is certainly not like him at all. He is usually running on high energy.

Today we both felt better, but I wasn't strong enough to ride the bicycle, so our visiting friend gave us a ride in his car to the dog park. Harley was back on his game, playing chase and tag with the other doggies, showing off how fast he could run. He took a few breaks to get his breath back, then he would race off with the other dogs again. It was a relief to have my little buddy back to his usual goofy self.

On some good news, I've had company staying in my camper and company staying in their camper, a new lady, well new to the RV lifestyle. She was in a much newer Class C motorhome with a nice big slide.  It was fun to have company around to keep me distracted from my pain, but I wish I had more energy.

Next week I have friends coming to camp in their Scamp, 2 lots down, so that will be more fun. It's nice to be out and about around people. So often I am tucked away in the middle of nowhere. It's fun to be somewhere!

We've had summery weather in Melbourne, Florida in January.  Simply amazing.

Sunday morning I checked the weather and choked on my coffee!  102F degrees on Thursday in Melbourne in January?  I don't think my little old 18 year old air conditioner can keep up with that!  I've been enjoying wide open windows and bare feet. But 102F degrees predicted?  YIKES!

I was wondering what kind of wild preparations I should make to get ready for this serious heat wave. 

Another cup of coffee, and I realized *AHEM* that I was looking at the weather for Melbourne Australia, where it is officially summer. 

I happen to be in Melbourne, Florida. Oops!  Wednesday was forecast to be 77F degrees. Wheeeeeee!  I guess they only show 4 days at a time and since Melbourne Australia was a day ahead, they had Thursday shown already. I will let you know if tomorrow brings anything wild and crazy weather-wise around here, but I think it will be a ho hum lovely day again. Life is good. 

I have been spoiled rotten, spending loads of time outdoors.  Half my worldly goods seem to be living out on my makeshift patio. One thing I love about Wickham Park, where I am camping now, is that the lots are nice and grassy.  No pavement. Yay!

Wickham Park  Campground in Melbourne Florida by http://DearMissMermaid.Com
If you look closely, there is a doggy in the picture.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15, 2013

I am alive, kicking and taking names  but snowed under a mountain of paperwork threatening to sink my mini-motorhome and or crush me to death or both.

Decades ago, circa 1982 when our firm was using the Kaypro Portable Computers I received a memo that read "Computers will substantially eliminate most all paperwork in the very near future."

I was ecstatic!  We kept copious backups of our client's work so that we could eliminate paperwork in favor of floppy disks that held thousands upon thousands of printed pages all on little floppy disks.

Did anyone else get that memo?  Because now when I go shopping for one item, instead of a tiny one inch receipt, I get two feet of the stuff spit out at me to lug around in my wallet or to file or build a mountain with. Electronic letters are followed up with paper faxes and printed snail mails and so on.

Should I just toss out my clothes and food to make room for all the paperwork piling up around me?

What's even worse is changing your address can result in an avalanche of paperwork delivered to both your old and new address in addition to multiple emails.

If I can't plow through all my emails, how will I plow through all this paperwork?


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Harley Rides A Bike

Harley rides a bicycle...

Here he is in his latest pet carrier, a basket on the front of my new Santa-Claus-brought-me-a-bicycle. I figure Santa Claus got it right, because it may be years to never, before I own an old clunker of a  car, so a bike is the latest and greatest. I am seriously hoping it pushes my health into a better realm but this is a painful activity for me.  Grrrrrr...

Due to a medical complication, I had to skip 2 days of writing and riding, but yesterday I loaded up the doggy, hopped on the bicycle and tortured my thighs to another bike riding session.  Harley had to share the pain but he seemed more or less willing. Once he got settled, he enjoyed the ride, the wind in his fur and the fabulous view.

People point and laugh, but we don't care. It's clear I am new to riding a bicycle.  Whatever I learned as a child, I am relearning all over again. Oh what fun!

Wickham Park is pretty flat with lots of paved and dirt roads plus off road paths for bikes and pedestrians. Traffic is plenty sparse. Most drivers are courteous, looking out for pedestrians, dog walkers and fools on bikes...

I am trying to remember to use hand signals, but I am kind of frightened whenever I have to take a hand off the handlebars. I have to keep reminding myself not to grip too tightly or else my hands will seize right up. I never thought riding a bicycle would require so much concentration (and so many bandaids!)

Harley is sitting on a little blanket, tucked in with his leash and the little orange change purse discretely holds his poop baggies, the bike lock key and  motorhome house key.

Don't lose the dog, he has the keys!

dog riding bicycle by

The weather in Melbourne Florida has been unseasonably warm for January. I have been in shorts and sandals all week long with zero complaints about that. I love spending time outdoors on my makeshift patio under the oak trees. I have chairs, table, awning, umbrella, patio mat and picnic table plus assorted ongoing projects outdoors.

Life is never dull. But please can I have more hours in the day?

We are parked under two massive oak trees. Between the trees and the squirrels, we are pelted with acorns 24/7.  I keep a dust broom outside to sweep the acorns off the seats and table. In spite of the awning and umbrella, those darn acorns bounce all over the place. Harley is on a tether outdoors which he drags around collecting more acorns to scatter across the patio mat.  Crunch, crunch, crunch, thump, thump, thump plus those teasing sounds the squirrels make as they wiggle their tail trying to entice Harley into a game of chase he can never win. I should rename this lot "acorn city".

In spite of my best outdoor housekeeping, we always look like the circus has come to town.

I am overly paranoid about my shiny red bicycle and it stays locked up tightly whenever I am not riding it.  The casual thief won't get away, but a serious one will have to work really hard to steal it. Overall the campground is super safe (but I am still locking up my shiny red bike!)

Apparently I live near the campground commando who came here for the sole purpose of giving others grief.  *SIGH*

What's up with that?  Maybe they need a bicycle and a dog to walk,  because clearly they have far too much idle time on their hands. Even management is getting weary of their chronic complaints. 

I guess some people just never learn to play well with others, or commune in harmony in the cozy confines of a busy RV park.

A departing RV-er gave us Poinsettia plants which still look gorgeous.  Unfortunately he was at the mercy occasionally of the campground commando's wrath.  (We had  some fun gossipy conversations about that.)

Yesterday I happened to be visiting outside another RV-er (on their lot) when an employee drove over with a semi-complaint to the other RV-er (not me). I said "Oh is the campground commando at it again?"  The employee about split a gut laughing so hard. Finally he composed himself long enough to whisper "Oh you know about him... and what we're up against..."  Tee hee hee!

Shop Amazon - Super Bowl Event

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January Tenth Twenty Thirteen

I fashioned my own bicycle rack out of existing equipment and a little creative ingenuity. I took of picture of it when I arrived in Melbourne Florida last week, um well I actually arrived  last year.  It just feels like last week, but I've been here 10 days.

Anyhow, it was GREAT to arrive and realize the bicycle was back there too.

Basically my bicycle rides between the cargo carrier and the rear of the motorhome. I truly do look like the circus has come to town. That's an old throw rug lovingly wrapped around the rear of my bicycle. I think next time I will wrap rugs all over it. In the milk crate on the right, I have my water hoses, which I use at the campground anyhow.

I am too flustered to write much lately. Dealing with bureaucrats and paperwork just zaps my energy something awful. Also I'm having a little extremely painful medical issue that is preventing me from getting out much to walk or ride my bicycle, so that is kind of sad. But I pray for a miracle, look for the rainbow and search for the pot of gold.

One night I had a fabulous dream of finding gold jewelry all over a deserted beach. What a strange thing to dream!  I hope it has a positive meaning.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Toto, Dorothy and Harley

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...
As I think of you and Harley on the bike, I can not help but see that scene from the Wizard of Oz:)

Dear Miss Mermaid says...

In my mind I see my dog as one of the monkeys and me as the elusive wizard...  But perhaps you mean Dorothy and her little dog...

Harley has been told many times he should be ToTo!

Oh my GOSH, I just googled for oodles of Dorothy and Toto pics and WOW!

I had NO idea that Harley is definitely a descendant from Toto!  Size and hair color are the same except Harley has one ear up and one ear down... uUnless the winds blows.  Then his other ear stands up until the wind dies down. It's oh so cute. I need to figure out how to make a video of that!

Toto and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz

Harley Dog

Toto from the Wizard of Oz

Monday, January 07, 2013

Doctor or Bicycle?

Miniture red Bicycle by
Miniture Bicycle

Two miles!

Yesterday I rode my shiny red bicycle two whole miles on flat pavement!  My thighs are on fire and I breathe heavy. *Huff*  *Puff*  My doggy was so sad I left him at home with my visiting friend.

Today I rode about a mile and a half with a six-and-a-half pound puppy in my handlebar basket.  *Groan*  *Whew*.

I am trying not to overdo it, so I can ride everyday until I get into shape for three miles or four miles...  *Ha Ha Ha! Tee Hee Hee!*

Or making just the two miles without feeling like I should park at the morgue when I finish.

People stare, point and laugh. My little doggy sits in the handlebar basket acting like he is king of the road and this shiny red bicycle was bought just for his personal use.

What a monkey!

My friend with a car, took me to buy a bicycle lock cable. I picked a nice one because I don't want any casual thieves to see my shiny red bicycle and take it away from me.  Back at my RV lot, I hide my beautiful bike under an ugly old table cloth, securely locking my bike to my wheel estate.

My thighs ache, I'm out of breath, but I sure am happy!

Everyday when I think life is too hard to ride a bicycle, I ask myself:

"Self? Would you rather spend an hour waiting at the doctor's office for their latest torture or would you rather spend an hour riding your bicycle?"

So to heck with medical care, I am riding my bicycle and see if that doesn't help my health and cure what ails me. Time will tell.

Lawdy mercy, I have no idea what I am going to do when I am  forced to relocate to a place with hills, but for now, I am trying to build up strength and stamina to ride on the nice level roads and paths. I only have two months here and one week is already gone. March could land me living at the truck stop, but I hope not. I have faith something good will happen to land me in an RV lot.  My next workamping gig starts April 15th,and I am only here until the end of February,  so I have six whole weeks to figure out where to live.

One day soon, we (that is doggy and I) are going to attempt a ride all the way to the dog park, with the puppy in the basket. I have dreams of locking my bicycle to the fence then letting the dog run wild at the off-leash park while I rest my thighs.

Next, I am saving up for a water bottle holder for the bicycle. I am mighty thirsty after every ride. In the interim, I think I can use a bungee cord to tie a bottle to the rear rack. Of course I don't buy water, but I buy Brita filters for my Brita jug  and filter my own water. I have some small cute water bottles that I keep topped up around the wheel estate so I have fresh tasty water available.

Oh life is good and I have no idea what I did to deserve such good fortune!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

My Red G-String

sunset at faver-dykes state park in florida by DearMissMermaid.Com

Due to other medical issues, I was forced to skip riding my bicycle for two whole days. One of the days it rained a good bit, so I felt a bit vindicated.  But I also felt so sad because riding this bicycle is a ton of work for me and missing out on two days training when I seriously need all the flat-road time I can get is not good.

I've only got about 3 months to seriously get into shape to be able to go up steep hills if I am to have any bicycle fun this spring and summer where I workamp near steep hills.

This morning, I was back on my bicycle. I had dressed comfortably in a long sweater dress I found at a used shop 3 years ago plus I had on boots to keep my feet warm.  I donned all this before thinking about what a sight I might be on a bicycle. Because my bicycle is a sissy bike, I can get away with wearing my oh so warm long sweater dress on cold mornings, so I hopped on the bicycle.

One loop around section A, another loop around section B, then out to the stop sign and back. I was dying of thirst. I guess I need a water bottle holder next.


At least I made it out on my bicycle. It was all flat riding, but still my thighs are screaming for mercy. My calves feel fine, but my thighs are apparently out of shape.  Since this is a retro bicycle, it came with a big generous seat, so that hasn't really bothered me much. I am in no shape to tackle the racing bicycle seats that are so tiny and painful.

Gee wiz.

A lot of people stared at me as I rode by, so I started smiling and waving at them. I guess a lady with a long ponytail, a sweater dress and wearing boots on a fire engine red retro bicycle can make quite a sight to see. At least I provide entertainment for the RV park!

When I first arrived in Melbourne, Florida, earlier in the week it was so warm in the 80's that I was wearing bicycle shorts.  Oddly I own bicycle shorts in assorted colors as I wear them in the summer with long tunic type Tshirts.

When I lived aboard my sailboat, I often wore short dresses,  but the wind would sometimes blow up my dress to reveal I had short colorful bicycle shorts hidden under my dress. I learned to wear short bicycle shorts under mini dresses the hard way.

I was young and slender. I was visiting on my boyfriend's sailboat in Cruz Bay on the island of St John in the Virgin Islands. My boat was anchored across the harbor.  I had worn a short dress with just a bright red G-string under it. This seemed appropriate for a hot day in the Caribbean. Cruz Bay is a busy harbor that has ferry traffic two and three times an hour. We decided to go ashore.  He had already climbed into his dinghy below. I was coming over the rail and down the side of the boat (no ladder) to enter the dinghy next.

That's when the ferry roared into the harbor going way over the speed limit, causing a huge wake. I was forced to hold tightly onto the side of the sailboat while my friend tried to hold on for dear life in the tiny fiberglass dinghy that was bobbing around like a coconut in a tsunami.  The huge wave the ferry generated was rocking both the dinghy and the sailboat something awful while my friend cursed words I shall not repeat.

As I held on tightly, unable to climb down into the dinghy, nor back onto the sailboat, a gust of wind blew my dress up.  I could hear people on the open-air ferry whistling and screaming because they were treated to a sight of my bare buns and my bright red G-string.

What's even worse, was that some of the people on the ferry knew me.  So later that day when I ran into them in town, they had great fun letting me know how cute they thought my little red G-string was.

At the next island we sailed to, a shop has super short bicycle shorts for sale in assorted colors.  I picked out a pair for each of my dresses. You couldn't see them under the dresses unless the wind blew.

Now my body shape has changed and I no longer wear short dresses. Actually I stopped wearing them after I busted up my left knee. I was oh so tired of answering questions about what happened to my knee that left a huge angry red scar.

One day I was lounging in town with my leg propped up in an open-air bar and restaurant. Someone asked about my knee and I nonchalantly told them it was  a shark bite. I was in a silly mood and carried on quite the conversation with them. Eventually they left me alone, then left the bar.

Big mistake.

Twenty minutes later, a reporter from the local newspaper rushes into the bar and breathlessly asks me about my shark bite while holding a pen and pad of paper.

I felt very foolish.

Maybe my middle name is fool, I seem to do the strangest things, that seem normal at time. Taking up bicycle riding seems like a great idea for now, but boy do my thighs ever complain.

Friday, January 04, 2013


Somebody is in my bed...

That is the treasured afghan that Harley dog and I fight over. My angelic friend paid their roommate to have  this handmade for me about 10 years ago. It's huge and oh so warm and fluffy. Harley loves it too.

Santa Claus brought him a purple plaid vest. It is super soft and warm.

Somebody is in my seat...

How does one little dog claim the best seat?  That is the passenger seat rotated around.  He has his pillow, bed and blankie piled up in his chair. Those gray curtains block the windshield and side windows at night. Um... I guess I could have hung them a little neater. By day, I roll them up and tuck them under the sun visors. This is more or less the best system I've found for a Class C mini-motorhome forward windshield and side curtains.

Somebody is in my yard...

These birds are not the least bit afraid of my tiny puppy dog. They are so massive compared to him, that they just wander around eating, totally ignoring him.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

If I Survive

Day One...

Oh a shiny red bicycle!  What fun!  One trip around the campground *gasp* and you better *puff* call an ambulance. I feel *gasp* nearly dead.  I am taking this bicycle back to the store. BIG MISTAKE.  Why on earth did Santa Claus bring me this torture apparatus?

Just the same, I found out an old vinyl tablecloth with soft felt on the underside makes a great bicycle cover.

Day Two...

Holy cow!  I have muscles in places I didn't know existed.  Santa Claus *gasp* why on earth *groan* did you bring me a bicycle?  I am not *huff* a kid anymore.  This might be going back...  I barely *gasp*  made it around the dirt  road loop in the campground. Pedestrians leap out of way as I wobble and wiggle my way through first and second gear hollering "Watch out!  I am new at this!"

Day Three...

Look at me!  Look at my puppy!  He loves riding in the basket up front!  Oh wow. My arms ache from steering with a six and a half pound puppy dog up front.  He looks real cute though. I better keep this bicycle under lock and key so that some other big kid doesn't steal it.

I ran into the campground bicycle gang. They were ages 6 to 16, about 20 of them in all and they looked scary whizzing by snickering at me. I hope they don't take my bicycle away from me!

A trip to the store (in my friend's car) and now I have a bicycle lock with a heavy duty cable and a bike light. The bicycle wasn't returned. The store is all out of shiny red bicycles. If I return mine, then somebody is sure to snatch it up for their own.

Schwinn Point Beach 26" Ladies' Cruiser Bike
Seven Gears of Shiny Red Aluminum

Day Four...

Oh my gosh, my thighs are on fire, but by golly I rode my bicycle a few times today.  This is tormenting my body. I had to crawl up the steps to get inside my motorhome.

Through some miracle, I fashioned a way to haul the bicycle on the back of the motorhome without spending any money. That way I can haul it back to the store.

Day Five...

Instead of hauling the bicycle back to the store, I tied it to the rear of the motorhome and moved 130 miles south. The weather is wonderful!  I am in shorts (yes, bicycle shorts!)  I am going to ride all over the 400 acre park.

Good thing I am in a mostly flat area. Not sure I will ever get the hang of these big hills in Florida. OK, they are really small slopes. I didn't make it out of the campground to see the rest of the park yet.

Puppy loved his second ride today!  We barely made 3 loops around the campground.

I guess I am keeping this bicycle, but what will happen to me in the spring when I move to northeast Georgia and those BIG hills?  So far I have only used four of the seven gears on the bicycle. *Sigh*

Day Six...

My first day off the dirt and on the pavement. Oh my goodness, better keep the band aids handy. Pedestrians continue to  leap out of my way. I don't even need  a bell. They look at me  wobbling around, steering erratically and run for cover. Every joint in my body aches. Am I too old for this?

The new campground has a different type of gang. They are geriatrics on three wheeled bicycles  *oops* trikes. I hope they don't run me down or take my shiny red bicycle away from me.

But by golly,if I keep up this training,  by next week I might be able to outrun them. Ha ha ha. Who's the sissy now?

Day Seven...

Fifth gear!  I made it to fifth gear today!  Who knows?  Maybe I will make it all the way to the seventh gear by next week!  And I passed those trikes today. Yippee!

Oh dear Lord, I ache from neck to toe. This is insanity!  But tomorrow will be the start of week two.

If I survive.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Once In 38 Years

Happy new Year to all!

Do you have all your resolutions in place?

I am just making one resolution. Surely I can keep one?

Just one?

Time will tell.  It involves hard work and promises to improve my health.

Santa Claus is sort of forcing me into a new New Year's resolution. Well, not forcing, but he sure chose it for me.

Santa Claus brought me a shiny red bicycle!

In all fairness and honesty, I have only ridden a bicycle once in the past 38 years.  I rode on a bicycle built for two on the island of Jost Van Dyke.

But as a child I did ride a bike from age 5 to 14. At 14, my wonderful 10 speed bike, that I spent two and half years housekeeping and babysitting for the neighbors so that I could save up for it... vanished. I never went back to bicycle riding as my life took an abrupt turn at the same time.

So I am not totally clueless, just completely out of bicycle shape.    The last 3 years my health has been a wild roller coaster ride, sometimes an uphill struggle. I am so grateful to wake up alive, now I am going to ride a bicycle several times a day?

Angels, friends, fans and framily  went out of their way to surprise me with Christmas  gifts of cash and gift certificates. I decided I should save them for improving my health or RV emergencies.

So I did nothing with them. Christmas came and went.

My visiting friend, a bicycle enthusiast, began pushing me to get a bicycle. I made up excuses, like I am old, scarred, battered, banged up, out of shape and suffering from a rare incurable disease.

"Exactly."  he said. "You need a bicycle. "

"And it would be good for me..." I chimed in (while rolling my eyes.) "But I am going to need several boxes of  band aids and a basket for my puppy to ride in...

Harley dog even got cash for Christmas. Can you believe it?  He also hauled in toys, a hand knitted sweater, food and treats like he was Santa Claw's best friend. How does he do it?  Of course his birthday is Christmas Eve, but still, he amazes me. Apparently he has more friends than I do.

Isn't that  a hoot?

So Harley bought a basket for the bicycle. He loves riding in it. It makes him look like a big fast dog!  He gets to look down his tiny furry nose at much larger dogs as we fly through the campground.

Note... "Fly" is used very loosely here.

I warn pedestrians "Watch out!  We are new at this!"  As we wobble and cruise  by at a good clip of 2 miles per hour...

So far lots of folks laugh. I guess I am quite a site as I learn to ride a bike again.

As for me *puff puff puff*  I am *ouch*  *ouch*  *ouch*  out of breath "oh* *owie* *oh* and my thighs *ugh* *grrrrrrr* are on fire.

I haven't gone far at all. Just little circles. A half mile *puff* *gasp* on more or less a level dirt road *gasp*.

I think I am half dead. But by golly, I am riding that bicycle every day so far.

And it is pure torture...