Friday, January 31, 2014

Harley Dawg Writes

Harly Dawg was not amused with the recent cold rains we had while much of the deep south was treated to snow in unlikely places. Harley has never seen snow.

As a rainy day project he has captioned these photos for your enjoyment.
 I have long  fur in back of my head since I started eating Newmans Organic dog food.

Even with the door wide open, I am not going out in the rain. I can sit here cross legged all day. I don't need to go out in that wet stuff. Checking Pea-Mail at The Post can wait.

Day Two.
The longer it rains the more I turn into a Wolfman. It's still raining! I might as well pose for my portrait.

Red is my favorite color cause it makes me pawsitively cute. I found this ball at the beach five campgrounds ago. I played all day at the beach with it, then I carried it home in my mouth. I dropped it, sand and all on the bed. My pet parent gave me a dirty look when I did that, then made a big showing of vacuuming the bed with that dangerous thing that is loud, angry  and hungry. It sucked up all the sand, dirt, crumbs and a dog treat I hid in the bed. Next she gave my beach ball a bath. Humans do strange stuff with my stuff.

I can't sit cross legged anymore, I have to seriously go out. When my pet parent tried to velcro the belly strap on my raincoat, I let out a fart that made her laugh long and hard.  I've had this raincoat since I was a puppy and it didn't grow with me. Maybe the rain shrunk it.

I have this huge bed in back by the windows 7 pillows and an afghan. I let my human sleep with me since the bed is huge. Maybe she thought I was going to grow into a great big doggy. Maybe she measured wrong. Humans do strange things. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Icy Cold Rains

 See you there!

We enjoyed a beautiful bike ride and romp at the dog bark park in summery weather, the day before icy cold rains hit our area. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cat Versus Mailman

Laughter is the best medicine. I try to laugh every day. Normally my ridiculous dog makes me laugh. But recently I managed to watch America's Funniest Home Videos.

This cat has one upped my dog by miles!

The video (embedded below) was made by a mailman who wanted to show a substitute mailman what to expect should he have to cover  his route. This cat is downright howl-larious. He throws the mail back at the mailman, then he steals his glove, eventually he reluctantly accepts the mail. I wonder what the homeowner thought when they got home to find not only a pile of clawed up mail in the floor, but a lone mailman's glove too.

I watched the show to the end, cheering for the mailman to win the $10,000 prize money and he did! Now he can buy new gloves.

If you need a rib splitting laugh to make your day, this might just do the trick.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What Can You Do With 5 Inches in 5 Minutes?

Preheat skillet.
Add a tiny bit of butter to coat pan.
Fill with pancake batter.
Cook until bubbly on medium heat.
Flip pancake with metal spatula.
Cook briefly (a minute or less)

Transfer to plate.
Add sliced banana.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and cloves
Drizzle with Real Maple Syrup
Devour on a Corelle Luncheon  plate with a glass of juice.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hope The Wall Doesn't Fall Down

I was sitting on the patio, dog in my lap, eyes closed when a campground neighbor wandered over.

"What are you doing?"

I opened my eyes and replied "I'm praying the wall doesn't fall down."

My neighbor gave me an odd look, surveying the campground for a wall. "Ummm, just what wall is that?"

"Here, I'll show you."

Actually praying the wall doesn't fall down is a metaphor for me practicing mind over matter in an attempt to heal thyself. It began in the galley one day...

When I bought my 1994 motorhome in 2009, the galley came with this whitish wallpapered wall next to the stove. It had a plastic paper towel holder screwed on it. Several weeks later when a friend came to see my new old home, my paper towel holder was still empty, so he bought me an 8 pack of paper towels as a gift. 

Now it felt like home.

In 2010 while wandering around Ohio, I bought this traditional Amish utensil basket. My flipper, spoons, and spatulas were crammed into a tiny drawer on the other side of the sink. It was rather cumbersome to fight with the utensils, looking for just one in the small drawer while my pancakes burned in the fry pan.  

I bought a little hand crank drill, a package of large brass cup hooks and a screwdriver. Nervously I put the first hole in the wall, screwed in the hook, then hung up the basket. I was delighted with the beautiful utensil holder and the Amish folks who made it. Cooking was fun. I quit burning things.

Now it felt like home. 

After I had drilled one hole into the wall, what's a few more?  I felt really bold. I decided to relocate the ancient paper towel holder to a tiny wall above the built-in microwave. Two more holes were drilled to accommodate that. I also discovered that unused holes in the wall could be neatly filled with a brass screw. Then it just looks like a screw is holding the wall up, not that I have an extra hole in the wall. I chose brass because my motorhome came with brass hardware on the cabinets. Otherwise I would have chose stainless steel because I am an old salt (a former live-aboard sailboat owner.)

On $5 coupon day at Dollar General, I bought these 2 rectangular baskets because underneath the weaving was a sturdy metal frame. After all, I still had brass hooks leftover from the package I bought to accommodate the utensil holder. Four more holes, four more hooks, two more baskets were hung on the wall. 

Cooking was tastier with a few handy spices.

Now it felt like home.

As time went on, the wall became a growing project. Whenever I found something handy and useful for the wall, I snatched it up. Some of my finds were from thrift stores (used) or found at recycling or gifts or Amazon. The wall is a startling reminder, my own little metaphor, that despite all the dire predictions by doctors in 2009, I kept waking up alive and living, one day at a time. The wall became a sort of creative outlet for invention as I made my tiny galley more to my liking and living and cooking and eating and dining and recuperating. Healthy nutrition can drastically change one's medical concerns (but it's very hard work!)

In my funny little brain, I figure as long as the wall holds up, all is well and Life is good. 

I am still occasionally drilling holes in that wall, hanging up stuff to make my rolling galley more efficient. Behind the stove is an  an oak spindle galley rail that I coated with polyurethane, sawed, screwed and glued to the counter top with the help of a friend, to make a spice rack on a section of unused counter that was otherwise just collecting dust. In the picture above, you can see the counter before the rail was added in the picture below.

Now it felt like home.

And that's how and why I recently came to be reclining on the patio, with my eyes closed, dog in my lap, praying the wall doesn't fall down. It's my metaphor for my fragile chaotic life; praying for strength and better health.

Many of the useful items shown are also available on Amazon. Click the links for details, I've added my comments in brackets below.
Collapsible Purple Squish Mixing Bowl, 1.5-Quart (perfect for making tossed salads and has a nice pour lip on it too for pancake batter)
Collapsible Green Squish Oval Mixing Bowl, 5-Quart (it's so nice to have a jumbo bowl hanging around, makes awesome potato salad too)
Magnetic Tool Holder, 13 Inch Wall-Mount with 3 Hanging Hooks (this holds my ice pick and favorite little knives and spreaders, the attached hooks are super handy too)
15 by 20 Inch White Cutting Board (this is shown hiding my sink, I don't cut on it, I keep it to use as extra counter space and hide the dirty dishes under it, when my front door opens, it's the first thing one sees, so that's why I don't slice it up)
8x8 inch End Grain Teak Chop Block (love this chopping block and the teak reminds me of my old sailboat, as a bonus, it fits in my wall basket, second from the top on the left side of the picture)
Amish Utensil Wall Basket (I love baskets and my close friends say I am a basket case)
5 inch square cast iron skillet (ideal and fun cooking for one, doubles as a speedy bread toaster too, I gave away the bulky toaster that came with the RV, it took up too much room)
Pate Knives (shown on magnetic strip, these are great little spreaders for soft cheese, jam, butter)
Oak Spindle Galley Rail (used to create built-in spice rack on counter behind stove)
Cheese Knives (these are super handy for more than just cheese)
Clock and Weather Station (shown above shopping list)
15x20 Microfiber Dish Drying Mat (folded up in very top basket, super useful when I have lots of dishes drip drying)
Corelle 7 Inch Salad/Dessert/Snack Plate (these fit in an upper basket near the microwave, handy for small meals and snacks, doubles as a bowl cover when microwaving, I found these used at a thrift store)
Portable Oval Slow Cooker, 1.5-Quart (came with a heavy duty rubber band to lock the lid down, great for traveling days, let it cook while I drive without the lid rattling or bouncing off)
Red Silicone Double Spatula (gets the last little bits out of any sized jar)
OXO Good Grips Can Opener (fast, easy and painless)
Long Lighter (prevents burning fingers when lighting gas stove, oven or BBQ)
Ceramic Knife (sharper than steel, does not brown apples or fruits, can slice super thin with ease, works with bread too, lives in the Amish utility basket)
Silicone Round Trivet, 8-Inch (indispensable, saves burning a table or counter, works as a pot holder, loosens stuck lids, non-skid too, plus easy to wash and clean)
Shopping Note Pads 8x3 inches (these are magnetic, but wall is not, I stuck a hook in the wall, then added a small clamp that had a hole in it to hang on the hook and hold the removable pads, it's easy to scribble grocery lists and random thoughts) 
Stainless Steel Ice Pick (can poke holes in wall for screwing in hooks, also I keep a plastic shoe box in the freezer for holding ice cubes I make myself, when they occasionally stick together, the ice pick breaks them apart)
Manual Rotary Craft Drill (for drilling holes in wall, more precise than using ice pick)
3/4-Inch Solid Brass Cup Hooks (most of the items on the wall are held up with these simple hooks)
Silicone Head Tongs (won't scratch pans, doubles as salad tongs and servers)
Incandescent Night Light with Switch (super useful for extra lighting under the cabinet, my motorhome has 8 of these)

In case you are wondering... all that stuff has stayed up on the wall quietly when I go bouncing down the scenic highways and byways. The pot holders act as a damper for the little fry pans hanging on the wall)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cold Canine

The many faces of Harley Dawg...

Harley was thrilled to see his basket of sweaters appear with the recent cool weather. He picked out his casual blue one to play outside on the patio mat with his Christmas toy. Lucky dog!

Below, he sports his beautiful red sweater he got for his birthday but it was too warm to wear it until now. I was going to pirate his neck scarf to wear in my long hair around my pony tail, but it looked so stylish on him, I resisted the urge. He tips the scales at 6 pounds. The angle of this photo makes him look huge.

Below he is on guard in his gray cardigan. No matter how I brush and groom him he looks a bit wild. I just hate to trim his fur, I worked so hard for the poor little fellow to grow some. He is a happy dog, just that he doesn't drop open his mouth for goofy grin until he is warmed up from racing around the dog park or playing ball.

Sunset view from my current camp makes me super happy I survived yet another day and lived to tell about it.


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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Motorhome Wrecking

Its easier to preach than practice.

So I am all flubbed up butter fingers trying to repair, maintain, upgrade, terrorize, customize, destroy, improve, decorate my motorhome, caravan, wheel estate, RV, rolling dog house.

Circle whichever words suit you in the above sentence, strike out the rest, and it all begins to make sense or no sense at all. Again, take your pick.

Instead of home is where we park it, should read home is where we wreck it. No I haven't been in a moving accident or wreck, just that I am feeling deflated, defeated, debased, depressed, deh-crazy.

I could star in a reality or comedy or documentary TV show called "How Not To".

While I am ranting and raving, I am sick of computer snoops.

Google chrome is a nightmare. Because I am in Melbourne, Florida, google has snooped around my life, somehow deciding I am in Melbourne, Australia. So when I try to search on something, it comes up with search results from Australia and New Zealand. By the way Australia to New Zealand is 2250 km or 1400 miles apart, per a google search. I have no idea how to convince google to give me USA search results. But it you need to contact RV repair shops  in either Australia or New Zealand, I can surely help you out.

When I was living in the British Virgin Islands, google would give me search results from the United Kingdom, a mere 4,052 miles away.

All in all, I am pissed... but in American lingo that means angry, annoyed or upset. In Australia pissed is to be drunk. Ditto for Britain.

Maybe I need a drink. Instructions are so much clearer then.

Tomorrow I plan to be spontaneous...

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Candy Canes and Frisbee's

Christmas decorations are being removed from Wickham Park (Florida). The incredible lightfest brought in tens of thousands of visitors nightly.

I walk past the candy cane row on my way to the dog park that Harley loves to play at. He gets to run off leash with the other dogs. Today he played Frisbee. He was a hoot, tiny six pound dog, carrying the  Frisbee back for another toss. I was so sorry I didn't have my camera with me. It's been years since he played Frisbee. As a pup, he loved the game, but he ran so fast one time to chase the Frisbee that it thwacked him pretty hard. I ran over to love on him, to let him know it was a boo-boo and not abuse. He had some awful things happen to him before I got him, another story for another day, of how I heard about that sad sickening story of his past.

So whenever he is injured, I tried to give him tons of love to ease his pain and let him know he is super loved and not being abused. The problem is the little fellow is so darn rambunctious, he sometimes injures himself.

One day at the dog park, he raced up on the metal picnic table (just like he had seen other dogs do there) only in his exuberance he sailed across the table, crash landing on the other side slapping the bench, then sliding down onto concrete where the table and benches are glued down. I loved on him, he knew nobody was abusing him, but he was probably pretty sore the next few days, as he didn't like being fussed over much.

Today the dog park had a Frisbee and Harley was suddenly ready to play again. He leaped to catch it, he fussed with it when it was flat on the ground until he could stuff it in his tiny mouth, then hold it up high enough so he could run with it without tripping over it.

And silly me, had left the camera behind.

If it's any defense, it did look like rain (the clouds were super dark) so I was afraid to take the camera with me lest I get caught in the rain with it.

After summery days the past two days, I am getting ready for a cold snap tonight that might plunge to just above freezing.

Yucky poo!

Monday, January 20, 2014


Nothing like starting the day by accidentally messing up the computer. Well, I have fixed the basics for now. The rest can wait because the sun is out, the weather is threatening to move back to our balmy 70's and I have plenty of outside chores to attempt.


Some days I am just a complete klutz. I was drinking a glass of 100% Cherry Juice at bedtime to help me sleep. Somehow  I knocked the tumbler over about two thirds full despite all my precautions to prevent such accidents. I didn't even notice because I was busy dozing off. (That cherry juice sleeper really works!) 

My vertical books that were in their little bookshelf on the same end table used their pages to soak it all up. Bright red cherry juice all over the bottom half of my repair manual, nutritional book, dictionary, quote book, phone book and a funny Christmas card that plays chimpanzee music. 

When I found that nightmare the next morning, it took another 2 days to dry the books out, bright pink pages and all. That made the books fan out and look even worse. Now I have to find heavy stuff to flatten them back out again. Who would have thought cleaning up a small cherry juice spill could take all week?

This is currently my favorite book; RV Repair and Maintenance Manual by Bob Livingston. Now the pages are colored with cherry juice that has faded to a purplish color. Sadly it's out of print but new and used copies are still available. Because the book came out in 1998 and my rolling home is a 1994, I figured it would be a good one. It has tons of useful information in it that directly applies to my motorhome systems. 

Now if I could quit being a klutz, I could repair a few things faster than they break. 

Dream on!

How did I put a hurricane ravaged sailboat back together nearly new but I have such butter fingers around this old motorhome?

Must be age. I was in my 30's when I rebuilt the sailboat. Now I'm in my 50's.  Time flies when you're having rum  fun!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

C-c-c-old in Florida?

Incredible weather for Florida. Brrrrrr...

Through a snafu, I woke up in the middle of the night to 40F degree weather inside my little old motorhome. I am still trying to figure out what went wrong.

Wickham Park
Thank you!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Six Mile

Friday is here already. We had another cold snap. It plunged to freezing temps last night. On the east coast of Florida. Sheesh.

I came here to escape the cold, not visit it.

Finally I met another southerner who came to Florida to flee the brutal winters of South Carolina. This is a running joke between me and the Army Corps who I workamp for in  the spring and summer in northwestern Georgia or northeastern South Carolina, depending on which park they assign me.

The first season I workamped, they asked me to stay year round. I said "Are you kidding? I am going to Florida, I can't take the brutal winters here!"  They were laughing at me because it rarely ever snows and the temperatures in that area can sometimes be a bit balmy in the winter. Some hearty RV snowbirds even spend their winters in that area.

Having spent much of my adult life living in and around the Caribbean tropical weather, I think my blood permanently thinned out. When temperatures plunge below 70F degrees, my teeth start chattering, I pile on the clothes and very often a light to heavy coat or jacket.

Two days ago in Melbourne, Florida it was summery weather in the 70's.  Our doggies were meeting and greeting. The guy told me he was from a small town in South Carolina no one had heard of. I told him I was born in South Carolina, I bet I knew where his town was. He thought not. Finally he admitted he was from Six Mile.

I said "Oh I've been there, it's in Pickens County somewhere around Clemson and Liberty. It used to be Cherokee land, they named it that due to six rivers or six miles from a major river, I forget which."

He gave me an astonished stare. "Yep, that's Six Mile."

Funny how my quirky brain works. I can't remember it's January 2014 (having told the bank last week it was still October 2013) but I remember where Six Mile is and how it was possibly named.

Home is where we park it... but my dog and I belong in the circus...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Planes, Trains, Boats, Buses and Motorhomes

I was at the Columbia, South Carolina train station in the middle of the night last spring. I was dropping off my traveling friend who had spent a few weeks in my little old motorhome careening around with me. My old sailing buddy (we met in the Caribbean over 20 years ago) needed to reunite with  car  and sailboat, which were left down in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

The train station was rather safe at that odd hour. I did meet a hilarious person I suspect was homeless, pretending to wait on the train. When it arrived, he made up excuses why he wasn't boarding. I imagine if the homeless person didn't pretend to wait on the train, they would have to shuffle along. It's a chronic problem for the homeless people, they need to sleep now and then, like the rest of the world. Finding a safe place to do that can be difficult. The train station, even at that odd hour,  seemed like a safe enough place, another reason I think the funny guy was there, he wanted to feel safe too.

Train timing is never convenient unless you live in a perfect area and I'm not sure where that is. But the seating is wonderful and roomy, nothing cramped like  airplanes.

Planes, Trains, Boats, Buses and Motorhomes by Dear Miss Mermaid
I took this picture last March while waiting at the Orlando, Florida Train station to pick up my sailing buddy. Weeks later, I deposited him at the Columbia, South Carolina train station for a return trip.

I had super uber fun back in the early 1980's taking the train from Greenville, South Carolina to New Orleans, Lousiana for a very long weekend, the scenery was awesome and the trip fun. A female friend of mine who owned a restaurant in Greenville, had never been to New Orleans, though I had made numerous trips by car. I convinced her that as a restaurant and bar owner, she just had to visit the French Quarter for continuing education in her field. We did the 12 or 13 hour trip in coach seats, but we hung out in the club car often. We bought coffee or a wine split (a tiny bottle). We asked the staff if we could play cards and hang out, they said we could unless it got crowded in that case, we had to share the table or leave. When you dine in the dining car or drink in the club car, they will put others at your table as they fill up. We actually enjoyed this for 1 or 2 meals, as we chatted up the other folks sitting at our table.

Many people brought their own food and ate in their coach seat as I don't think they let you use their dining or club tables with your own food. Some coaches had tables, but it seemed families were already sitting at those for the duration of the train trip.

Another time I rode the train on a lengthy round trip from Columbia to Fort Lauderdale to charter a boat for two weeks with some other friends, in the mid 1980's before I moved to the Caribbean. We were planning  to sail to the Bahamas, but ended up in the Keys instead. One lady in our group was seriously ill but claiming to be in remission. She changed her mind about sailing to the Bahamas, so we changed course for the Florida Keys since this was her birthday trip. 

On a sad note, she passed away right after we arrived back home. She was not in remission at all, but she lied because she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. She simply quit all treatments, told everyone including her husband she was cured because she wanted to go sailing, feel the wind in her face, sand in her toes and warm sunshine tanning her skin. Every time she mentioned a trip, well meaning doctors, family and folks around her would claim she was too sick to go.  So she lied. 

I can still hear her voice in my head as many times she said "This is the best birthday ever!" We foolishly toasted her remission as well. Little did we know.

The Florida Keys are a coral cay archipelago beginning at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula. The islands divide the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Gulf of Mexico to the west. The southern tip of Key West is just 90 miles from Cuba.

There used to be a train rail through the Keys, but it was plagued with disasters, hurricanes, deaths, spirits and ghosts finally being destroyed in a 1935 hurricane and never rebuilt.

Now US 1 runs the length of the Keys, matter of fact, US 1 runs all the way up the East Coast to Maine.

Personally I don't think the private rooms on the trains are worth it unless you can afford the largest. On the boat trip, one couple had a room while the rest of us did coach seating. We went to see their tiny cramped room and we were all so glad we didn't bother with one.

The coach seating was roomy with foot and head rests, so it was pretty comfy to doze in.  It's not easy walking up and down a moving train, but you get used to it, so I managed to tour the entire train both directions. Of course everyone looks up to watch you go by...  Many folks never leave their seat. But well, you know me... I want to see it all.

Another time I went on a day long sightseeing train trip to see the fabulous fall colors in the Blue Ridge mountains. It ended in semi-disaster. Our train was fine, but a coal train derailed right after our train had turned to head back "home". Our train had permission to use these old coal tracks that cut through some awesome scenery.  We were in a very remote part of the mountains. They chartered buses to come get us and overloaded them. We had to hike a long ways to meet up with them. The buses hadn't been cleaned, some coming with garbage in the aisles and a very stinky bathrooms. For the scenic train ride, we were told to bring our own cooler and picnic on the train, so you can imagine a zillion coolers, picnic baskets and all the crap people brought for  a day trip. They overloaded the buses, wanting adults to put all the children big and small,  on their laps. Needless to say, many folks were pretty grumpy not seeing the humor in the latest adventure.

We happened to be the last to board a bus, as they showed up randomly throughout the evening and night. Our train car was selected as last to board. I think we were supposed to get home at 9pm (by train) but we got home by bus at 9 or 10 the next morning. The scenic train company went out of business after that. I don't think they had insurance to cover the bus costs. I am sure they paid a fortune to round them up for charter on such short notice. Some of the bus drivers looked like they were pretty exhausted too.

But I still remember that beautiful gorgeous day full of incredible blazing autumn fall colors as the trees and leaves did their annual magic. We had paid extra to be in a first class train car that had unique swivel seats to face the windows, so we were treated to fantastic views in armchair comfort. Now that I think about it, that mountain trip was in the mid to late 1970's.  But it seems like only yesterday.
Many, many thanks from Dear Miss Mermaid

Monday, January 13, 2014

Too Much On My Plate

Too much on my plate.

Will post another day.

I can't think. I am confused. I'm grumpy.

Hmm... maybe I am hungry. Brains need food, right?

In case you are wondering... that is lentil rice pilaf, carrots, collard greens and beets. It looks like a huge pile of food, but that's not a 10 or 11 or 12 inch dinner plate, it's an 8 1/2 inch Corelle luncheon plate.

I decided dinner plates were too big to store in this little old motorhome and too tempting to overfill, so I use the 8 1/2 inch and 7 inch plates. Of course one can have a side salad or soup paired with either plate...

*Ahem* back to overfilling?

We all know (if you've read my posts) that healthier foods, smaller, plates, riding a bike, walking the dog, lifting weights has done absolutely nothing to cause my body to give up one stubborn ounce.

A dear sweet angel brought me a small plate of food. My favorite too;  Homemade Cookies! They were awesomely *munch munch munch* delicious.

These were special diet cookies, but you have to eat them all in under 24 hours for the magic to work...

So I had one for breakfast, another for a mid-morning snack, one for lunch, well what the heck, another mid-afternoon snack, one for dinner and then the final one as a late night treat.

*Phew* it wasn't easy, but I got all those magic cookies down in under 24 hours.

Oh yeah, this diet is going super well on these smaller plates.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tracking Sharks and Mermaids

Shark Tracking

Besides the snowbirds that flock to Florida for the winter, we also have the sharks that come down. This 2300 pound shark was tagged in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and bestowed the name Katherine.

She seemed to party hard in Daytona, wandering around aimlessly hungover (similar to many of her human counterparts) before continuing on her southerly track.

shark tracking

The red X is just to show you Melbourne, where Harley Dog and I are  on the Space Coast. You can see her  journey from Cape Cod to here on the shark tracker. 

Cape Codder Tracker

When I bought my hurricane ravaged sailboat in 1991, in the Virgin Islands,  she was named "Cape Codder". They say it's bad luck to rename a ship, but I renamed her "Sea Rose" to give her good luck.

I guess it worked, because over the next few years I rebuilt her to like-new condition in between working on larger yachts as professional crew.

When working (for pay) on boats afloat, I was up with the sunrise beginning my work day to cater to the whims of our passengers. By 10 or 11pm, I was dead tired exhausted from working my 15-16 or 17 hour shift. I kept up that kind of pace 7-14 days in a row, the typical charter. Often I did back to back assignments that kept me working for weeks and months without a single day off work.

Then finally there would be a gap in charters. I could go "home" to my own little old sailboat which was kept at anchor. My neighbors living on their boats afloat in the harbor often watched over my boat while I was gone working.

The funny thing is, once my boat became mobile, I usually took off sailing the very next day after coming off a crew job. Talk about a busman's holiday! I would motor or sail to my favorite spots, then recommence work on rebuilding my boat.

Oh I surely wish I had that boundless energy now.

Dear Miss Mermaid Tracker

This is me trying to find Florida.

I left Point A (Lake Hartwell) September 23, 2013, arriving at  (Q) Blythe Island, Georgia November 7th.

All the letters are where I camped one or more nights.

My track looks more like a drunken sailor at sea.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Time Traveling

Maybe I'm crazy but I'm not sure it's safe to be sane either...

Funny how I was stuck in bed for what seemed like forever so super sick, yet now I am up running around, staying up until the late hours of the night trying to catch up on everything. 

Life is goof.

I put the music back in my life. Now I am disco dancing in the aisle of my motorhome at midnight while alternately dusting, cleaning, organizing.

I discovered it's January 10 or 11, 2014!  Holy cow. What happened to the holidaze?


Wonderful sweet loving generous angels have been watching over this fool.  What did I do to deserve such glorious blessings and sheer good luck? Surely I am not worthy of this abundance but just the same it seems I owe loads of thanks, thanks, thanks for all these big and small miracles that seemingly land in my lap when I least expect it and most need it.

The way I see it, any day I wake up alive, I just know it's going to be a grand adventure. Each and every day is oh so special.

I drove the motorhome recently to go run errands. On one of my stops the bank machine refused to give me any cash. It didn't matter what number I chose, the machine steadfastly refused to spit out a single dollar. Not one. Not five. Not ten. Not twenty. Not fifty. Nothing.

Has my math gone haywire?

I was suddenly exhausted, so I abandoned the rest of the errands to head back home to the campground. 

Well almost. 

As we enter the park where I am camped we have to go by the fenced-in-off-leash dog park. A certain little canine critter that rides around with me was pleading with all his might to make a stop on his behalf.

Harley is sort of popular at the dog park. He is also known for arriving there in creative ways. He has arrived on foot and paw, he has arrived on bicycle, he has arrived in my friend's car and he has arrived by motorhome. Maybe I will just fly him over on a kite next time...

After the dog park, we drove to the campground. I entertained the neighbors because while backing up my motorhome to park it,  I kept ending up in the wrong place. So I jumped in and out of my seat to check my bearings (and to make sure none of the trees had moved.) Then I would hop back in to wiggle around the motorhome some more here and there, back and forth. Finally *phew* I ended up parked just where I wanted to be which was level  and lined up with my patio mat. (I have it  staked down with tent pegs, so the gusty winds don't carry it away.) 

Once settled, I called up the bank to ask them what the problem was. The bank rep said my card expired. I looked at my card exclaiming "But it's good until November 2013 and it's still a few weeks before November."

There was a pregnant pause on the other end of the phone. Eventually the bank rep said "Um... ma'am... it's January 2014. We mailed you a new card. You should use that one.

Oh. Hmmm... Did he just say it's January 2014

For some inane reason I responded "Oh, I travel through time..." 

Suddenly realizing my latest gaffe, I just disconnected the call in sheer embarrassment. 


Travels through time?

Oh my gosh. Not what I meant to say at all.

One can only imagine that somewhere in an obscure cubicle in a bank call center, a harried rep is probably laughing hysterically about the fruitcake who called up claiming to time travel...

Driftwood imitating my calendar...

Occasionally when I least expect it, my current brain calendar will hiccup at the darnedest time. 

Must be all that time traveling...


Life is goof...

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Mermaid on a Mission

Everyday dawns a new error..

One thing about living on boats afloat and in third world countries, is I'm probably more prepared for dealing with chaos especially when it comes to appliances or utilities and the lack of things working or available.  Or having things, then have them go wrong and stay malfunctioning or nonfunctioning for a long while due to logistics of far flung ports or tiny little islands in the middle of nowhere.

I've lived for years on boats afloat or on small islands without electricity or refrigeration. For several years on my sailboat, I even relied on catching rainwater on a special system I designed out of canvas, that would top up my tanks every time it rained. Naturally I lived on strict water rationing, but if my tanks began to overflow while it was raining, I became a person possessed, washing me, the boat, the dishes and everything in sight. 

For several years I lived without refrigeration on my own sailboat, though naturally I had refrigeration on the sailboat charters I worked aboard.  These weren't household refrigerators either, but had to be cycled on and off with the help of engine driven systems or a generator. I would be gone for weeks or months working on yachts, then return home to my sailboat for weeks of down time, then return to work again. 

It was a chaotic schedule I loved that kept me working and traveling all over creation. I kept a tiny pocket calendar diary with me at all times, to tell me where I would be when, on which boat or which island or which country. 

Just writing about it now makes me exhausted, oh how I wish I had that boundless energy again. I rebuilt my little old sailbaot in between working on yachts, but that's another subject for another book. Coming soon...

I just wish I was as handy now, as I was then. Sometimes I think those were the cherry days and now I'm dealing with the pits. I don't mean that in a bad way, just that I feel so wore out.

So I've lived with household refrigerators, marine cold plate refrigerators, caravan refrigerators as well as lived with no refrigeration at all. There are so many different ways to keep food cold including ice and cooler, assuming one has access to ice for replenishment. 

Or there are ways to quite happily live with no refrigeration at all. I know. I've done it.

Ah... the days of rum and rain for happy hour... seem like only yesterday but somehow time kept marching forward and this morning I woke up in a little old motorhome, several miles inland in Florida. Who'd a thunk it?

Last night my refrigerator in my little old wheel estate decided to entertain me with percussion instrument noises and a dramatic light display while heating up. This would be fine if my fridge were a stereo or TV but it's supposed to be cool.

In the island lingo that's "You Be Cool, Mon."

This RV refrigerator is designed to run on propane or electricity. Either way, it also requires 12 volt power. Motorhome fridges are a bit different than household refrigerators. They cool the food but using a different technique. The top panel of my refrigerator has an array of lights to tell you what it's doing. Last night all the lights were blinking and dancing. The back of the fridge was making a loud clickety click noise.

I ran around checking fuses, the battery, the propane. I tried resetting the fridge, I tried it on electricity, I tried it on propane. I read the manual, searched the internet and made a few phone calls to chat with repairmen. Surprisingly I found one willing to come out the next afternoon.

But in the interim, I just felt compelled to try everything I possibly could to fix it myself. I took the back panel off the fridge and located the various parts by flashlight while comparing it all to the manual and the repair book I bought awhile back plus the information I located on the internet. If anything, I was getting a rapid education in useless information as I tried various things to coax life back into my refrigerator.

Ah, the story of my life...

By 1am, I was freezing cold, our 74F temps at noon had plummtted to 38F degrees. In a motorhome, you have to go outside to access the working parts of the refrigerator through a special compartment. I can pretty much identify all those parts blindfolded by now.

Heck I could just put the food outside to keep it cool, but there is that matter of those pesky raccoons. By morning they would have carted it all off for their own feast.

Gotta laugh at the madness, it sure more fun than crying.

Before all the craziness of trying to fix it myself, I did find a mobile RV repairman who was willing to come out the next day and take a look-see. But in the interim, I was so hoping I could just fix the refrigerator myself and cancel the appointment. I felt super lucky to even find anyone on such short notice. Angels must be looking out for me again.

By 2am, I was convinced that the beast had defeated me. I went to bed meditating on this, maybe it was a bad dream and I would wake up to a magically working refrigerator. Perhaps I should think about Plan B or C or D...

The repairman arrived the next day, actually he managed to come much earlier than planned. When bags under my eyes, I rattled off to him everything I had done thus far in my feeble attempts to coax my refrigerator back to life ending with "And by 2am, I just gave up." 

When I was finished he just  stared at me seeming a bit astonished as his eyebrows shot up and he said "You did all that yourself?"

Perhaps he'd never met a crazy mermaid before. 


Look and See

No I am not imagining things. They are really there.

Someone recently told me I had a big imagination when I was rattling on about the various creatures (ducks, raccoons, turtles, cranes etc.)  I see living in the park (besides the humans and their pets.) I guess since they have never seen these critters, they suggested I was making it all up.

I guess you could say I was a tad offended.

I am not imagining things. But sometimes by the time I get the camera ready to shoot, the critter is long gone. Other times I capture them from afar. Later I can blow up the picture to spot the animal.

There is so much to see in this big beautiful world when you get outside and walk, seeing planet earth the old fashioned way.

On foot.

I snapped this picture on our walk to the dog park. The fence at the top of the berm leads down to the amphitheater on the other side. See that dark round thing in the middle of the picture?

Here is the close-up. There is a mammoth turtle munching grass.
Here is another one.

Despite the pain, I was suffering from cabin fever also known as being indoors TOO MUCH. But I've had little choice while I gobble pills (YUCK!) rest and get well again. I seem to doze right off, cat napping. I hope all this rest makes me well in a hurry. I went to the urgent care place recently where I was treated like a car part on an assembly line. Ugh.

Yeah, I am just rambling on and on today...

Just the same I dragged myself outside yesterday with doggy on a leash. We made it all the way to the dog park finally. For several days I was in way too much pain to walk very far. But yesterday we walked, rested, walked rested and eventually we arrived at the park. Along the way I saw the big turtle munching grass, a raccoon raiding the neighbor's garbage, a couple of sandhill cranes, a huge flock of blackbirds and some ducks out for a swim.

Harley was so thrilled to finally reach the dog park that he kept racing up to leap into my lap and slather me with doggy kisses while I laughed and tried to dodge them.

Then he would rush off again to run play. Anyone else that sat down, was also treated to his sudden visits. I am teaching him "OFF!".  Not everyone wants a happy little dog leaping into their lap. But Harley is a super social dog and just wants to be friends with one and all. Most don't mind, since they are at the dog park with their dog, but some do. So Harley is learning "OFF!"

The word "DOWN" doesn't work because he thinks that means lay down and get a treat. Sheesh... He is responding to "OFF!" (but he would rather not.)

He does bring joy and laughter. Many folks say he is the friendliest little dog. (Sometimes a bit too friendly!)

Once he has greeted all the humans, he makes a point of starting a race with the other dogs. He wears them out until he is the last dog racing. What a fruit loop.

I am not sure he understands the concept of the dog park. We have several friends we get to visit throughout the year that have fenced in yards where he can run and play untethered. So in his tiny brain, I think he thinks we are at someone's home where he gets to visit, play and run wild. Lucky dog!

Now back to seeing things...

Out my front door, it looks like a campground. But there is a dark lump to the right of the neighbor's gazebo.

When I blow up the picture, you can see below that it's the local raccoon, returning from shopping at the neighbor's place.

I am getting better at catching these "imaginary" critters on film that "someone" thinks I am dreaming up...

But they whiz by in their car, while I plod along on foot "seeing things".

Pardon me for sounding so grumpy. I guess they will never ever believe I saw an angel... another story for another day.

Speaking of angels... I was talking with a delightful lady who said she had eye surgery and now sees floaters in her eye. I was a bit perplexed, so she explained about her floaters. I said "Hmm, I didn't know they were called floaters. I saw some of those for awhile and thought they were spirits wandering past."

She found this hilarious, laughing at me for what seemed like a long time then confessed "You know, you might be right."

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Pucking Fain Driving Me Crazy

Sunrise out my front door.

Life is beautiful.

Sorry I haven't written much lately. I've been to an urgent care facility while mostly in bed trying to get well in a hurry with as few drugs as possible.

The pucking fain is gawd awful.

More later.

Poor Harley Dawg has only had minimal exercise, but he has been a pretty good buddy to have around.

However, when I am not looking, he has been relocating his food dish to another part of the motorhome as if he is bored and needs alternative dining for his enjoyment. Tsk tsk tsk. I caught him with the camera too. If anything, it proved I was not imagining this. He was in fact moving his bowls around, I was not randomly scattering them about in my pain-filled haze.

In this case, he carried his food dish up to the chair. Geezus... I don't need this but it does provide some entertainment.

At first I just kept finding his empty food bowls in random spots around the motorhome. I was in a fog already, so it was just adding to the confusion. Then I caught him a few times, picking up one of his food bowls and moving it somewhere else to dine.

I fear he is imitating humans. Doesn't he know he's adopted?