Sunday, February 28, 2016

Another Gorgeous Day

Another beautiful day in paradise.

I finally got to go see the ocean!

So funny to be camped so close and rarely get to see it.

Florida Dog beach laws are cruel

This was the view from the table where we dined. It was kind of funny because I was bundled up in long corduroy jeggings, 2 shirts, a sweater and fur lined boots watching people in their bikinis go by.

I spent 23 years of my life living and working on or by or in the ocean. I miss it all the time. I almost cried when we sat down to lunch.

The service was super slow, which made me feel right at home. When I lived in the Caribbean, restaurant staff were always painfully slow.

Florida Dog beach laws are cruel

Florida is nutty about dog laws. My poor little doggy had to sit in the car. He is NOT allowed at the beaches anywhere in this big long county and most of Florida is that way. That is just oh so cruel for a puppy dog. He doesn't understand why humans are allowed to go to the beach and toss garbage everywhere. Here he is just a doggy wanting to run and play and dig on the beach. He doesn't bring garbage to throw out. His owner has the poop bags in case he leaves a deposit, but he prefers not to poop at the beach because to him, that is his play pen.

Florida Dog beach laws are cruel

When we camp at Hunting Island he does his business before we enter the beach. He doesn't want to mess up his play area.

I hope South Carolina (where Hunting Island is) will forever be friendly to dogs and dog owners.

Florida Dog beach laws are cruel

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pedaling or Peddling

There are many advantages to shopping Amazon. I am also a Prime member which comes with a ton of useful benefits.

One of the best benefits is that most products ship free in 2 days. If you careen around in a motorhome or RV then this can be super handy because Amazon has become hotly competitive on many RV parts and supplies. 

Alternatively, a prime member can often elect for slower shipping and get a freebie from Amazon. The most popular freebie is they often offer up $1 digital credit in exchange for the slower shipping. I let these pile up then I am able to buy and download a music album or multiple music songs for free.

I love music.

It has brought a smile to my face. It calms me down. It makes me want to dance.

My motorhome is so tiny that dancing inside if very difficult, but I manage.

Oh how I dream about the option to one day own a little old motorhome with a slide out so I can have dance room. Keep dreaming... cause that is about as close as it's going to happen anytime soon.

But it looks like I am going to be in my current little old wheel estate for a long time to come, so I tell myself that I am happy enough to have a roof over my head and a soft bed to sleep in.

It's easy to come up with long lists of junk we think we want. But I find that by doing the reverse which is to look at all I own and then be super thankful for that, then that long list of wants just vanishes.

Never say never. A miracle could happen, I could end up in a slightly newer rig with dancing room.

For now I can just dance outside and let the neighbors wonder if I am having a seizure or just enjoying the music.

I have an outside stereo speaker that I just love. It's a regular speaker a friend gave me years ago when he moved to Brazil. I use a one gallon zip lock over the speaker to make it outdoor worthy. So far this has kept the speaker playing nicely. I use the front door to run the cord through. There is rubber between the door and the frame, so far it hasn't destroyed the speaker wire.

I am very grateful to have music in my life. I don't ride my bicycle with music, I need my ears to listen to traffic.

Around the corner from this park is a side entrance to a storm pedway. It has a paved walking and biking sidewalk all the way around it. What fun! (See picture below.)

I used to think I would save up to buy an old car for cash. But instead I spent that money on a comfortable Day 6 bicycle. 

I figure there is nothing healthy about owning a car.

My body is rapidly falling apart with a noncontagious rare disease beyond my control. But in the interim I am trying to get out on my bicycle once a day, every day. It eventually feels great! Sometimes I start off in a lot of pain and frustration. I sometimes use my magic button to engage the electric assist to help me in the early stages of rolling around. Then next thing I know, I am pedaling all over creation and the button isn't used at all.

Wheeee!  It makes me feel like a big kid.

If you think you can't get out on a bicycle, try buying a comfortable bicycle or buy the electric assist kit or buy both. I was able to use my kit on my old Schwinn and then when I bought the new Day 6 bicycle, I was able to switch it over.

It sounds contradictory to say that an electric assist bicycle will provide you more exercise, but it sure has for me. It gives me the confidence to get up and go!

It's NOT easy. I got back into bicycle riding after a 40 year hiatus thanks to my dear friend pushing and urging me to do MORE than my doctors or I thought possible. My friend was convinced that I could and would relearn to ride a bicycle and learn to love it.

He was so  right.

Matter of fact, I gave up on the doctors and began following alternative care. Whether it is right or wrong, one thing is evident, my stress level was reduced considerably. Health care shouldn't heap tons of stress on a person, but my care was extremely stressful. I am still confounded by this.

Gotta run, there's a world out there to see , a pedal at a time.

The storm pedway in the background has a paved trail that runs around the entire lake.

Monday, February 22, 2016

World Outside

Just like a blind long tailed kitty cat in a room full of rocking chairs, I too am trying to navigate amid the chaos.

Here are some beautiful pics of our beautiful world.

Oh the neighbors love me now. This is how we paint the rig. Little small bits at a time. I figure we should be done in another year or two. Those are old free magazines we use to cover the windows so over-spray doesn't wreck them.

My cutie patootie in a rare moment of being nearly perfectly still. Normally he is high energy in constant motion when he is not sleeping. I even tried to fatten him up in hopes of slowing him down but that just gives him even more energy and more reason to fill up the poop bags. His fur looks sort of neat because he just had his head out the window for a blow styling.

Bicycle riding is the most efficient means of human propulsion. It's fun too. Nature is awesome. Traffic not so awesome.

If you drive a vehicle, please look out for the bicycles and give them a little room to enjoy their green contribution. Please.

I pedaled to the grocery store yesterday. Luckily I only had one near miss collision with a car bent on turning right on red whether I was crossing the street or not. I escaped injury but oh my heart was racing from that scare. I had correctly pushed the button at the street corner to cross the street and I went when the pedestrian light told me to go. But this driver was in a hurry and she thought maybe I was just a foggy mist shaped like a person on a bicycle when she tried to drive right through me.

Do you like to park as close to the door as possible when shopping?

Then get a bicycle.

Typically they have parking near the front door in a bike rack. Even the not so friendly bicycle stores, often have a sign post near the front door that can be used as a place to lock up your bicycle.

Whenever possible, I try to avoid the interstates and soak up views of nature while driving to a new campground.

I can't write anymore today.

There's a world outside waiting.

Thank you very much.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Mangled Dangle

I can accidentally mangle up the English language something awful. I even manage to confuse my spell heckler.

It's true, the nail that sticks up gets hammered.

How's that for one swell foop.

I don't know if I need a bottle in front of me or a frontal lobotomy.

Well so much for that! I am off to go riding as soon as I boil my icicle.

If you want to read about my latest mess...

There are a series of comments posted here on my latest mistake of accidentally typing "Squaw" when I meant to type "Squall". I have since corrected the word, but the comments are kind of interesting and fun.

Green Poop and Earthing

Turtle poop!

It's lovely that the pet turtle comes by everyday to eat the purple wild flowers. But not so lovely she leaves behind big blobs of green poo.  These are about 10 times the size my little doggy pushes out and he of course would never ever poop in his own yard or campsite. He has to walk far away to do THAT.

I end up having to scoop the turtle poop because this is in Harley dog's play area where his tether roams. Nobody wants green poo on their tether.

Yucky poo.

Also, someone commented on my blog about "earthing" which is basically running about foot nude to shed the excess electricity. Well that is simplistic explanation. It's like being grounded to remove excess positive electrons.

But suffice it to say, I do run around barefoot almost everyday. Funny how the earth can be so much warmer than my cold floors indoors. I've been spotted around the campground, walking barefoot with the doggy while carrying my shoes and his poop bags.

GO BAREFOOT (or foot nude) once a day on good mother earth. It sheds the bad electrons and helps with healing. But watch out for that healthy green poo from your friendly neighborhood turtle.

Ain't life goof...

A big THANK YOU for using my Amazon link to shop and browse. The little commissions I earn surely do help me keep rocking away in my chair. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tornadoes and Sailing

Sailing Offshore

I think the longest I ever spent offshore sailing was about 2 weeks on a dreadful yacht that nearly claimed our lives when the engine malfunctioned spewing smoke and carbon monoxide throughout the closed cabin where 2 of the 3 crew members were sleeping during a storm offshore. I was one of the two. I woke up coughing, confused and dizzy. I made it outside with smoke billowing out the companionway hatch with me. The interior of the yacht was nearly destroyed in thick icky black goo that stuck to everything.

When I worked aboard a long line fishing vessel for swordfish in the Pacific out of Honolulu I was out at sea for nearly 5 weeks. I agreed to do one trip on a trial basis. It was my first and last. Mainly because of the nasty captain.

One of our crew members was severely injured and the captain dragged his feet about getting any help at all. I had to make a royal pest of myself to save the crew member. He would have lost sight in his eye had he not been fortunate enough to be rescued and evacuated to a hospital that managed to save his eye and eyesight.

The Pacific Ocean has vastly different waves than the Atlantic Ocean. But the winds seemed like the same. Life is goof.

While out sailing offshore the work can become tedious. An oft repeated saying is:

Sailing is moments of profound boredom relieved by moments of sheer terror.

Last night we had a squall hit the campground with 60 mile per hour winds. Later I found out a tornado watch was in effect. Good grief. All this excitement at 3am.

I woke up about an hour earlier, feeling real uneasy, not sure why. I finally put myself back to bed only to wake up again with the camper shaking from side to side, the awning straining at her tether flapping noisily. The winds were whipping my homemade Wifi antenna pole around. I decided not to go out in the cold hard rains but rather to let it swish around. Amazingly this morning it was still standing.

Inside, the overhead hatch in the kitchen was wide open, I got it closed but there was still a gallon of water to mop up in the floor. I been mopping a lot lately!

The way the camper was rocking and rolling in the gale force winds, I was praying for deliverance. I surely didn't want to go flying out into the night on a lofty cloud. Luckily nothing bad happened, just scary stuff was all.

Every thing outside was soaking wet this morning. The place was a mess. Even the dog didn't want to go out to do his thing after seeing all his toys soggy wet covered in muck. I told him last night to put his toys away before bedtime but no, he left them scattered all over the yard. That's his way of putting them away. Leave them where they fall.

Ah the life of a sailor drifting in a campground.

I woke up alive and all is good.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sinking Feeling

Sinking the motorhome.

I tried to do it again. Water every where.

Over the years, I've had more scary near sinkings of my motorhome that I ever had in 12 years of living on my sailboat at sea. I only had one near sinking in my sailboat. What luck! And I lived to tell about it.

Today I had water every where in my motorhome. I guess technically I can't sink since I am already parked on dry land. Thank goodness for small favors!

First I threw microfiber towels on it then I remembered my rubber broom has a squeegee for emergencies like this. I swept the water out of the wheel estate and down the door steps. Then I used the rags to mop.

The water was already sudsy because it was my washing machine that peed all over the place. After 5 years, she blew a water hose. Instead of washing my clothes, she washed my floor, rugs, shoes and dog toys.

Luckily there wasn't too much dirt, hair and fur with the water. I had swept up the day before with the rubber broom. If you don't have a rubber broom, then you're not living clean.

I discovered a rubber broom and there's no turning back. It sweeps inside and out, on floors, rugs, concrete. It sweeps wet stuff or dry dirt. It traps hair that easily pulls out of the broom for disposal.

Flip it over and the squeegee can corral a wet mess in a hurry.

Just yesterday my washing machine spit out a cup of water when I wasn't looking. I carried it outside, removed the bottom and looked up inside. The compact washing machine only weighs 49 pounds but it's a super hard worker.

Nothing seemed amiss. I decided I had spilled water and just not realized it.

But the next day when I started to wash a small load of clothes, there was suddenly sudsy water all across the bedroom floor, the aisle, the hallway, the kitchen, the living area.

It's not a large motorhome so water can spread far and wide pretty quick.

This time I called the toll free number for Haier on my compact washing machine. I was shocked to get a live person right away who wanted the model and serial number. It was why my friend was reading off the super long serial number for me to relay to the operator,  that he yelled "Hey! The outlet hose is busted! That's why it's leaking water!"

The kind man on the other end of the telephone quoted the part number I needed, then gave me another number to call about buying the part. At the same time I typed the part number into Amazon's website and guess what.

They sell the part and deliver it in 2 days.

So, 2 days from now, I should be back to washing my clothes.

Life is goof.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Renaissance Fair 2016

I am relearning how to make and upload videos and slideshows.

This is a slideshow I made of some of the costumes at the Renaissance Fair 2016 in Wickham Park, Melbourne, Florida.

If you can't play it below, then here is the direct link:

Typically my entertainment budget consists of free events I can do on foot and paw or by bicycle. In addition, I go on the internet to my old local library to download 5 free songs each week. I have been doing this for two and a half years now, so I have over 800 songs to listen to.

A few years ago, friends gave me their used stereo speakers that required electricity. At first I didn't know what to do with them. Then I discovered that I could hook an MP3 player to them and have awesome music. Because the speakers have their own electricity, that gives them enough power to make the Mp3 player sound like the greatest stereo in the world. Amazing!

Life is goof.

Amazon has Mp3 players for all budgets.

I have some hilarious videos of other things, so I am going to try to battle my learning curve around this program to make and upload some more.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fun Travel Quotes

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. - St. Augustine

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. - Lao Tzu

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home. - James Michener

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey. - Fitzhugh Mullan

Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else. - Lawrence Block

Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by.— Robert Frost

Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.— Pat Conroy

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. – Mark Twain

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign. – Robert Louis Stevenson

Life is goof.- Dear Miss Mermaid

Monday, February 08, 2016

Scarf Barf

Ut oh.

Here's what happens when you get a bright idea to wash a dozen long scarfs together.

You end up with one very colorful lumpy scarf.

I cruise through Dollar Tree now and then to pick up some food and cleaning bargains. Everything is $1 or less there. They often have a scarf du jour for sale for $1. Since I can use these scarfs numerous ways, I fork out a $1 now and then to buy one. They get a lot of use in my hair, around my neck and inside and outside the motorhome.

Some are inspired by upcoming holidays, so I have scarfs with hearts and scarfs with stars and stripes. I have a scarf with fish and one with candy colors plus some with pretty pastel random stripes.

They tie up my long hair or make a great hippie headband. Sometimes I've braided a scarf into my hair with my long locks for a unique look.

When my wrist was super sensitive but I didn't want to wear a brace, I was hiding my ace bandage with a colorful scarf wrapped and tied around my arm. I got so many compliments people thought I was setting a new trend.

I hang some off the awning frame when I am expecting company so they don't thwack their head (IF they see the scarf dangling there first...)

When I have to leave the freezer door open in the hallway to defrost the fridge, I tie scarfs to it, so I don't slap my head (again) on that super sharp freezer door corner. Did you know that freezer door is harder than my head?

Ask me.

I found out the hard way... Had an ugly lump and a headache for daze.

So I was washing up my dirty life and decided the basket of scarfs probably had sweat and road grime ready for a washing.

And they came out as one big lumpy colorful scarf.

Scarf barf from my washing machine.

Life is goof.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Out With A Bang

It was time.

The shot rang out.

Then it was over.

No more pain. No more suffering. No more medical interference.

And so my treasured friend abruptly finished the final chapter in his life. 

Cherokee Foothills
Deja Voodoo

We had this discussion about 30 or so years ago. It was more of a lively "what if" conversation we were having. But it stuck to me. I've thought about it time and time again the last few days as I remember, rejoice and mourn the loss of my wonderful friend.

Three decades ago we sat in my old home in the glorious sun room talking about the death of another friend, when our conversation turned to suffering and "what if". We shared my home at the time. I had a turn of the century house that always had a project going on plus a lively music room that my friends and I kept busy.

My then housemate was a professional musician who enjoyed handyman work too. He came to live with me after having an upheaval in his life 280 miles away.

One Saturday night he quit the band, loaded up his equipment, drove to the apartment he shared with a combative girlfriend he no longer desired, packed up, left her an "It's over" note and drove 5 hours to my home. I had not seen him in months and he did not call, just showed up.

It was 5am when he arrived, so he slept in his truck in my driveway. I noticed him when I went out to get the Sunday paper. I could see his small pickup truck was loaded down with his worldly goods consisting of musical equipment, tool boxes and clothes.

I asked him inside for breakfast. I figured he had a pretty good tale to tell as to how he ended up sleeping in my driveway.

I was not disappointed.

He was laughing and joking about his sudden lifestyle changes. My previous housemate had married and moved out. Ironically, now that I think about it, she married a prominent jazz musician.

I invited him to move in and stay awhile. There were plenty of projects to do around the house. Plenty of space in the music room for all his gear and a big basement for tools and projects.

We fell into a comfortably fun erratic routine. He quickly found work performing on stage again. Life was good. He worked on my old house and patched up an old family cabin an hour's drive away.

One day, we talked about "what if". We sat in the sun room surrounded by windows and dozens of potted plants. We had a fabulous view overlooking the backyard garden. Beneath the windows were bookshelves overflowing with books on just about any subject imaginable.

He told me then if it came down to it and his life wasn't worth living due to medical nightmares, he would take matters into his own hands. He was serious.  It was all just a long wild conversation but it always stuck with me over the years.

How ironic.

At the time, we were both young and in great health living active busy lives. Well more or less. He was in great shape. I was having a glorious remission. I had gone through multiple surgeries and chemo but I didn't dwell on it and few even knew what I had gone through as I fought to maintain a busy happy life. Most of my surgeries and treatments were on Thursday or Friday so it would just appear I was having a long weekend from work.  Indeed it was top secret at work, because we didn't want any of our clients to be concerned that I couldn't provide my services, so we hid the fact letting clients think I lived in the luxury of long leisurely weekends. I often worked 12-15 hour days to keep on top of everything between surgeries and treatments so I scarcely think anyone noticed anything amiss. Those were the days of keep a stiff upper lip and march onward.

At some point my jewel of a housemate fell in love and moved out to be with his new girlfriend but we stayed in touch and found reasons to run into each other often.

At the end of 1987, I decided to sell my home and businesses to relocate to the Caribbean in pursuit of a different career. Somewhere around the mid 90's I returned for a summer at the old family cabin that was falling apart. I called my former housemate and he came up several times over the summer to help me cobble the place back together. We had a blast catching up on old times and laughing as we took breaks, rocking away in these massive wooden rockers that adorned the screened porch.

At the end of 2009 I relocated back to America. I called him again and he drove over to visit me at this motorhome I had just purchased.

In 2015 I visited the remnants of the old cabin.
At the time I was nearby laying to rest the ashes of someone else.

In the summer of 2014, I found out he and other friends of mine were playing in a band 60 miles away from where I was camped at the time. Another musician was visiting me. We decided on a whim to drive the motorhome over to go hear them play. Little did I know it would be the last time.

Recently I woke up checking my email, shocked to learn my friend had succumbed to horrific medical maladies.


And he was gone.

Rest in peace my darling. I shall never ever forget your laughter, your love, your music, your creative insight. You are a treasured jewel living forever in precious memories. 


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Put On Your Duchenne Smile

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.~ Mother Teresa

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. ~Dr. Seuss

Everything keeps going wrong, but I woke up alive and THAT went right!

When all else fails... and it's failing... oh stop whining...

I have to thwack myself in the head and say "Self? Be grateful for all you have.
You woke up alive.
You have angels.
You have food and shelter.
There is nothing else you need.

So this morning I am sitting here biting my tongue waiting and watching for the sunrise.

Biting my tongue so I don't whine and fuss. Tsk tsk tsk. Pain. It's not easy. Oh stop whining.

And... this is REALLY hard, plastering a SMILE on my face and counting to 10 really slowly while trying to crinkle up my eyes too.

Now I will try to SMILE again while listing 10 things I am thankful for... lawdy mercy my face hurts.

Oops, was that too honest? Sometimes a simple smile won't do, has to be real, has to be felt in the eyes. But a simple smile, if all I can muster... well it's a start.

Later as darkness broke into morning...
My eyes are smiling!
The sun is coming up!
It's BEAUTIFUL and I am alive to see it. WOW.

Now for the technical stuff:
Whenever we smile, there are 2 potential muscles we activate. The first one is the zygomaticus major and it controls the corners of your mouth. Scientists call this  the “social” smile. The second muscle, known to show sincerity is the obicularis occuli and it encircles our eye socket.

Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne (de Boulogne) determined that smiles resulting from true happiness not only utilize the muscles of the mouth but also those of the eyes. Such "genuine" smiles are known as Duchenne smiles in his honor.

You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile. ~Charles Chaplin

Monday, February 01, 2016

The Call Of The Carillonneur

I could hear the mighty bells in the distance.

They drew me in closer like a powerful magnet. Mesmerizing my soul. It was the Carillon.

Due to extreme rains, Wickham Park in Melbourne where the Carillonneur played at the Rennaissance fair resembled more of a bog than a park. Between me and this massive instrument was an impromptu moat of slippery black mud, so I tried to take my pictures from afar.

Cast in Bronze

Four tons, 35 bells and one masked carillonneur who tolls the bells with his fists and feet. This instrument originated in Europe about 500 years ago. It's the world's heaviest musical instrument. Most are built to be stationary, but this creative soul has figured out how to bring the carillon to the people.

He calls himself "Cast In Bronze". Listen to samples of his music at amazon (click here). It's well worth buying an album or two or three. Seeing this show live was impressively jaw dropping. I've never heard anything like this before. It was mesmerizing.

I tried to make a video but my arm was shaking and it came out awful, I managed to freeze frame and capture the above picture. I will try again next weekend when the carillonneur will return.

The dog and I have dropped camera(s) a few times (yeah I am blaming the dog) in spite of using arm straps, neck straps, wrist straps,  and my camera du jour has been to the beach a few too many times, so now it works randomly, kind of like me. Matter of fact, I have a box full of cameras that don't function anymore, sad to say. But I keep trying to do better.

Now and then (more like rarely) we catch an awesome photograph. I say whee (oops we) because so often doggy is dangling on a leash off my arm while I am flailing about trying to snap a good photo. 

I end up with the good, the bad, the ugly. 

For all the pics I tried to take of these incredible bells, I only ended up with 2 semi-good ones. 

I must try harder.