Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Touch of Autumn . . .


There is definitely a feel of Autumn in the air this morning.  Right now it’s 63F and sunny out with a light breeze that feels like someone left the refrigerator door open.  Our overnight low dipped into the low 50s.  I awoke around 3 AM, dozed off and on, finally rolling out of bed with Maggie a bit after 5 AM.  I put on a sweatshirt with my jeans and we came over to the office.  After about 30 minutes, I smelled this “heater” smell and heard some clicks.  Felt the baseboard heater vent and, sure enough, the heat in my office had come on!  The thermostat was set around 50 from last Winter and it was chilly enough this morning to trigger it.  It’s late July, folks.  Wow.  We’ll be digging out the thermals and sweaters before long.

There has been virtually no activity here lately.  Accomplished one little yearly task – putting another stain coat on the welcome sign for our rig. It sure needs it after enduring the elements outside year-round. 

July 25 sign before



July 25 sign after



July 26 welcome sign hanging

Back in place – nicely positioned to be seen when door is open


We purchased our sign at a wee shop near Cherokee, NC, in August 2010, a couple of months after hitting the road. 


We like the reference to a clan, seeing as Dave is from Scotland.  Additionally, one has been known to see a majestic stag in The Highlands of that bonnie land.  This sign, although we did not have it custom made, just seemed to be waiting for us!

We spent two weeks in that area, staying at Happy Holiday Campground.  The park had changed ownership shortly before our stay, coming back under the caretaking and ownership of one of the tribal families.  Although well-kept at the time, there were many improvements planned and, from the looks of their web site, they have been accomplishing many of those.  We enjoyed our stay with them immensely.  It was still a slower pace place at that time, and I was honored with special talks with an elder gentleman of the family.  Positioned within a mile or two of an entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it was a beautiful area.  At the time we were there, it was a wee piece of Heaven.

Cherokee NC Cropped

At Happy Holiday – August 2010

That was an epic arrival at Happy Holiday, possibly our longest day of travel with the rig (I think around 400 miles) and my first towing in mountains.  Just so happened that initial event happened at night.  I remember going through tunnels and making sure we took the correct turn in town for the campground, having been cautioned to do so to avoid steep downhill grades via the other route.  (Yikes!  Don’t want to go there, for sure!)  We arrived around 10 PM, well after dark. The hosts were very nice, escorted us to our site and made sure we got settled okay.  They even returned the following morning to trim some low-hanging branches.  I remember telling Dave that I wanted to retrace the mountainous last few miles of our route in daylight so I could either say, “Oh, that wasn’t really so bad after all; it just felt like it in the dark,” or “OMG, we could’ve died!”  Hahaha!  In reality, it was an uneventful journey which in daylight was indeed impressive but in comparison to some of our adventures since that time, no big deal.  It was, however, one of my first true tests and lessons in towing our rig.  I remember feeling “warm and fuzzy,” knowing my Dad would have been proud that I landed us safe and sound.  He probably would have been grinning a bit, too.   Yep, definitely grinning.

Mom and Dad's Rig Sept 1 1988

One of my parent’s rigs, color-coordinated even, in 1988.  Note the low Holiday Rambler membership number of 1252.  Cool, eh?  This is where I get the RV bug, having grown up with similar rigs since I was a babe in arms


Okay, not sure how I ended up strolling down memory lane this morning.  Probably started with putting a new coat of stain on the sign.  You know how one memory leads to another.  Wish I could give Dad a tour of our 5th wheel.  He’d be like a kid in a candy store with all the new innovations to be had in RVs these days.  Two televisions?!?! Heck, he was considered a crazy pioneer for having one with us at one of the HR national rallies.  Didn’t seem so crazy after all when folks wanted to watch the first moon landing along with us.  Yep, he would definitely be grinning.

Dave’s on a bike ride this morning while it’s pleasant out.  Looks like I will need to make a Lowe’s run when he returns to get a couple more flashlights and perhaps an additional hard hat or two for visitors scheduled later this week.  There’s a quiche in my plans, too, for later today.  Hope you’re making your own memories today!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things - A Blog Hop Post


Celebrate the Small Things


Another week has just about flown by and I find that it is time to Celebrate the Small Things!


  • If you read my previous entry, you would know that this past Saturday I celebrated being two years out from a second cancer diagnosis.  Yay!  That is definitely not a small thing.  Carpe diem!
  • Thanks to social media, I recently reconnected with a gal I met while we were workamping in Missouri during the Winter of 2010.  She and her husband were parked next to us during those miserable couple of months.  One does meet some good people in this lifestyle.  That is certainly cause for celebration!


Parked right on a lake, it was cold and windy – December 2010

  • I celebrate the fact that certain songs can cause my soul to soar.

What are you celebrating today?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Just Another Day . . .


Our alarm clocks (Dave has an actual clock and my alarm is my phone) are set for 6:30 AM on weekdays, and today was no exception.  He’s usually out the door before me, opening the office and the gate.  Maggie and I in the office about 30 minutes later after her first walk.  She gets her breakfast and we check the Internet for mail and to see what’s happening in the world.  Dave makes his first patrol run and I continue to wake up.  Ha!  Awakening with an alarm has never been kind to me throughout the years, and that continues even today.

While Dave was mowing Saturday, he noticed the grate over a large storm drain out by the driveway had come off.  Dave put an orange cone by it to warn folks. 

Hole by Driveway 07192014

I contacted the police department and an officer came out to inspect it.  Later that day two large orange detour barrels had appeared along with an orange flag on a tall pole.  A road crew was out there early this morning repairing this.  I was impressed by the prompt response. 

Dave is in training for the Pennsylvania State Time Trial next Saturday, so he was out for a wee spin this morning after we both had breakfast.  He’s done the major training and is now in what can be called maintenance mode in the week prior to the event. 

While he was gone, I repotted one of my office plants that had outgrown its original pot and added soil to two others.

July 21 repotted Purple Waffle

The Purple Waffle is happy again!

Glad I did that reasonably early, as the day became increasingly humid although not excessively warm.  Still, it was fairly miserable out by noon.  After Dave returned, I headed off to the market for some groceries and the bank to make a deposit.

The afternoon ended uneventfully but with a few work-related phone calls and emails, and we have both had dinner.  Maggie has had various walks during the day for necessities, looking for rabbits and chipmunks and inspecting (from a safe distance due to possibility of copperheads) the stacked pipes for groundhogs.  She’s watching TV next door with Dave.  I’m sipping my first and only cup of java while I visit with you.  We’re winding down our day and will call it a night around 10 PM.

Yes, we get paid for this!  Right now we’re experiencing a quiet period with spurts of activity here and there.  Sounds like we’ll have a crew here one day this week.  That being said, the weekend was busy with our mowing and weed whacking, and someone here doing some clearing of the massive vegetation in some areas with a brush hog.  Yesterday Dave had to escort some folks through the mill and then drove them up to the dam.  Yes, on a Sunday.

When it’s quiet here, it’s quiet.  When it’s busy, it’s busy – sometimes crazy busy.  Today was a quiet day.  I dig the busy days, too.  Hope you’ve had a great Monday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Two-Year Cancerversary


Two years ago today I was told a tumor was found on routine pathology of my appendix following an emergent appendectomy on July 11, 2012.  The cancer was goblet cell carcinoid, a rare type, and not related to the breast cancer I experienced in 2001.   About a month following the appendectomy, I underwent more surgery – right hemi-colectomy and bilateral oophorectomy – related to the GCC.  Once again, I was lucky, blessed – being “watched out for” by some Spirit greater than myself – in so many ways.  Finding the tumor at Stage II, being assigned my particular surgeon just because he was on call the date of my ER visit for the appendix (and who says first thing about the tumor, “I’m going for a cure.”), the superb care provided by the staff of the local community hospital.  My husband Dave falls into that category, too.  This was not my first rodeo with the cancer experience, so it was harder on him than me.  You know what?  He stepped right up with no hesitation and once again proved to be a man and husband in the truest senses of those words.

Melissa Etheridge’s The Awakening is filling my ears as I visit with you this evening.  This album of hers particularly speaks to me.  She compiled it following her cancer experience.  It’s serious, insightful, spiritual and rockin’.

Overall 5-year survival rate for GCC of the appendix is approximately 77%.  That’s not too bad, not too great.  That’s not being morbid.  That’s being realistic, although statistics don’t mean squat.   I could trip over a groundhog and break my neck tomorrow or live to be 105.  Not sure I want to live to 105, though. 

What it is, however, is a benchmark by which I can strive to live my life.

Hey, I’ve made it two years, getting a literal thumbs-up from my surgeon and a hug at this year’s check-up following CT scan.  Did I mention my surgeon is awesome?  When was the last time a surgeon (or any physician) gave you their personal cell phone number on hospital discharge in case you had questions or concerns?  He rocks.

Whether I have three years, three minutes or three decades left in this world, the thing is to live every day to its max as much as possible. 

All anyone has is right here, right now.

So how did I spend my cancerversary?  Didn’t even dawn on me it was today until this evening.

Dave and I went up the hill to the local farmers market this morning.  Dave appreciates a good tomato and the ones at this market are totally yummy, so he walked away with a small basket of them.  I scored some homemade bread topped with feta cheese and onions.  Yum!

From there we went to Walmart, where Dave picked up a couple of grocery items and I made a few purchases in the garden department, a new 100-foot hose and a pot for an office plant that has outgrown its current home.  Returning home, Dave mowed his portion outside the front fence and I washed our RV.

July 19 washed the RV

Not perfect, but better than it was and it’s white again!

I actually enjoy washing the RV!  Our home looks after us, so I enjoy giving it some TLC.

Dinner was leftover King Ranch Casserole from yesterday and some of that bread from the market warmed up a bit.  Sure was nice to have leftovers after we were both busy this afternoon.  After dinner, I received a phone call from a girlfriend of my Brenham days and we had a fine catch-up yap session.  She and her husband are now living the full-time life, too.  The three of us – me, Dave and Maggie – had a nice evening walk a while ago.  Dave is now watching a movie over in the rig and I’m here in the office with Melissa and you. 

My life has been – and still is – so very amazing, filled with sparkling gems who are friends, experiences of both spiritual and physical natures which have been breathtaking, adventures on my own which still amaze me when I recall them (I did that??), the souls who have passed through my life briefly for a particular purpose, the adventures Dave and I have shared over the past nine years . . . and just look at that RV up there in the photo.  That’s my dream, folks.  Living this lifestyle. 

To those of you who walked beside me on that path two years ago . . . thank you – thank you ever so much for your support during that time.  Your words certainly bolstered and strengthened me.  I am grateful for your presence in my life.

Carpe diem!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things - A Blog Hop Post


Celebrate the Small Things


Guess I’m trying to make up missing last Friday by composing this entry Thursday evening.  Now if I can remember to post it tomorrow . . .


  • Tonight I’m celebrating the gift of Eagle making a fly-by directly over me this afternoon.


  • This afternoon I visited my hair stylist for a cut.  Ahhh . . . that feels better!  At every appointment with her I celebrate the fact that it is a relaxing experience, she and I have a comfortable relationship ongoing now for over three years, and I can emerge from the shop lookin’ good.  Catherine is a good-hearted and talented young woman, coming here to me to cut my hair during the interval between my cancer surgeries two years ago . . . and not charging me for the visit.  She works from a salon a 30-minute drive from here through the countryside now, having moved there from a salon about five minutes from here earlier this year.  No surprise that I followed her when she transferred.


  • Although I marvel at and celebrate the man who is my husband, I’ll mention tonight that I am fortunate to be married to someone who understands,  supports and encourages my idea of a solo retreat weekend on my own.  I’m considering taking a weekend to myself in the near future and am looking at renting a wee cottage or cabin not far from here.  I’m looking at Lancaster or Gettysburg, PA and in the Poconos.  I envision a weekend of writing, meditating and napping.  Throughout my life, I have been an independent gal, taking road trips on my own, tent camping solo and so forth.  We are together essentially 24/7 and it has been several years since I have ventured out on my own.  Perhaps it’s time to do so again, just to stay in practice!  At any rate, I am celebrating having a supportive partner.

What are you celebrating today?

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday


July 15 Warrior Plant


In the middle of the parking lot stands this Warrior, all of approximately 3” in height.



July 12 tree


After a harsh Winter, this tree has decided to issue forth with the beginnings of branches on its lower trunk.



July 16 Grasshopper


We encountered one another this evening while I was weeding a flower bed.  This cutie was sitting on the back of one of the pink flamingoes, thoughtfully posing.


Thanks for stopping by!






Monday, July 14, 2014

Transformers Do Go “Boom!”


This morning we both heard a noise which I associate with a power transformer blowing.  You know . . . that hum-rumble-boom noise.  If you have heard it, you know what I’m talking about.  About two minutes after the first “boom,” there was another, both occurring nearby.  We still had power in the office and our RV.  Dave drove around to the back of the mill, but did not see anything suspicious.  Oh well, whatever.

About two hours later, a power crew shows up.  A line had gone dead and they were looking for the source of the problem.  Long and short, they were here a couple more times throughout the day, finally returning late this afternoon to switch the line back on.  They had not found the root of the problem.

While they were back at the substation on the property, I heard the “boom” sound again.  “Well,” I thought, “they’re back there, so surely they heard it this time.”  Sure enough, a wee while later yet another truck shows up.  All three trucks are back there a while and then come to let us know they are leaving.  They told me I had called it, as there was a tree on a line causing the transformer to blow when they switched the power back on.   A tree crew was supposed to be arriving to take of that problem.

While all this is happening, the skies are darkening and we are in for a round or two of storms . . . again. 

Tree guys show up.  It starts storming.  Two more trucks arrive.  It’s storming.

Time passes, a gully-washing, toad-strangling storm moves through. 

About 8:15 PM, all crews are gone off the property, I’ve locked the gate and we’re snug for the night.  With more storms coming.

These guys were certainly earning their wages today and this evening.  Working on trees and power lines in high humidity and a thunderstorm.  They’re gonna have a long night.

Okay, the power in here just dimmed a bit.  Better get this posted!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I Love the Sound of Chopper Blades in the Morning


July 13 mowing

Mowing this morning before it got hot out

It’s about 85F out and totally sunny out right now, but there’s a light breeze and tolerable humidity.  That’s summertime here in our neck of the New Jersey woods.  The photo above is part of one section I mow.  Got it and the section to the right of the photo (across a drainage ditch) – what we call our “front yard” – done this morning.  We’re in for rainy days starting early in the week, so wanted to get this done.  Keeping the grass mowed nice and short helps minimize snake and tick encounters, too.  I treated myself to a pizza and now will spend the rest of the day working my online job after this post is completed.  There may be a bit of goofing off time in there, as well.  Good to be indoors.  I cooked last night, so Dave has leftovers.  Just in case you were thinking I was neglecting him.  He spent the morning doing another recon ride on the course he will be racing in two weeks. 


One of the company guys here this week said the owner of the market down the street told him one of his customers had seen a bear entering our gate recently and making its way towards the back of the mill.  Apparently the customer had a video on his phone.  This is the time of year when we see bears here.  We haven’t actually seen one (yet) but are carrying air horns with us again and keeping a more vigilant eye out when walking the property or in the mill.  (There was a bear in the mill two years ago, the first time the game warden had encountered that particular scenario.)  While I was mowing, I saw scat which I’m thinking could very well be from a bear.  Whatever it was, it was a large animal.  “That ain’t no deer, baby.”  Researched and found photos online just now and . . . yep, that could have been Bear, for sure.  Was fairly fresh, too.  Our exterior property lights are still not working, so at night around here it’s darker than the inside of . . . of . . . well, put your own favorite saying there. 


July 13 Maggie morning

Maggie helping make the bed this morning


Around 7:15 this morning, the sound of chopper blades filled the air above us.  Going outside, sure enough, there was a beautiful bird above us obviously filming the property and the river.  (I could see the camera attached to the chopper’s underbelly and saw the red light on the camera.)  Awesome!  Dave got binoculars and indeed there was a man sitting in the door of the chopper.  I waved at one point and so did Dave.  It made several passes and then proceeded upstream and then later downstream from us, photographing the river and surrounding area.  Whirlybird sounds were in the air for at least 30 minutes with varying degrees of nearness.  While I was mowing, three company guys showed up and, sure enough, it was one of them we saw sitting in the door of the bird.  “Did you see me waving at you?”  “Did you see us waving at you??”  Ha! 

Love of and thrilling at flying things – another set of genes inherited from Dad.  Of the different modes of flying I have experienced, helicopters just may be my favorite apart from the B-17, but that particular lady is in a class all to herself.

Okay, the afternoon is sliding along, so I’ll post this and then make some mad money.  Hope you’re having a good weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!











Sunday, July 6, 2014

Weekend’s Almost Over


July 6 front yard

I mowed our “front yard” this morning

With the Fourth being on Friday, we have had a quiet three-day weekend.  Well, mostly quiet.  The police chief and his family put kayaks in the river from the property yesterday.  Dave and I had actually gone to Applebee’s for a mid afternoon meal.  The Chief called while we were there and then came to the property when we returned about an hour later.  They still had plenty of daylight, so all was good. 

June 30 lillies

Another pot of daylilies has bloomed

We typically don’t attend any festivities on the Fourth, and this year was the same.  There are various fireworks displays in the area and individuals shoot fireworks, so we heard quite a few booms right from here.  Maggie is so cool; the noise doesn’t bother her in the least.

What does freak her out is if you get the flyswatter to dispatch a bug.  She runs into another room and cowers.  Same goes for, say, if you drop something in the kitchen and utter an exclamation.  Must be some negative experiences in her past before us that causes this.  Can’t imagine taking a flyswatter or fussing like that at our sweet Maggs.  Of course, when this happens, we go out of our way to reassure her that we were only after a fly, that she is a good dog and we weren’t upset with her.

I am toying with the idea of a long weekend wee writer’s retreat, a solo girl’s getaway or whatever you want to call it sometime in the Fall.  Just contemplating, with no definite plans.  Might happen, might not.  Many campgrounds have rental cabins, and I found a couple that look promising.  I like Lake In Wood Resort for their offering of unique accommodations, including a double-decker bus, caboose and yurt.  This cabin at Blue Rocks Family Campground appeals to me for its porch.  Then there is this one at Drummer Boy Camping Resort.   None of these are far away and have reduced rates and/or specials after the peak summer season.

We’ll see.

There’s really not much else to report.  Dave is in training for his next race, which is two weeks from yesterday.  He did a recon ride on the course yesterday and will do another next weekend. 

That’s it for now!

Thanks for stopping by!




Friday, July 4, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things - A Blog Hop Post - No. 6


Celebrate the Small Things


Is it Friday already?  Well, then, it must be time to Celebrate the Small Things!

July 4 Maggie new harness


  • Today I am celebrating the finding of a certain type of harness for our dog Maggie.  It’s the only design I have run across that she can’t “Houdini” out of given the opportunity.  I wasn’t even on a mission to find one as I have been in the past; it just happened as an afterthought.  I have found them at Petco and Walmart, but had not seen one in ages.  In Walmart this afternoon picking up some provisions, my little voice said, “Check down the dog aisle.  Maybe there’s a harness.”  Sure enough, there it was.  Just one, just her size and pink, no less.  Score!


  • You know, I celebrate our wee Maggie every day.  She is such a treasure, a rescue from an Austin, TX shelter in 2010, a few months prior to our hitting the road as full-timers.  She is smart as can be, always smiling, always in a grand mood, happy to just be with us.  Such a trouper, she has bravely been with us through not only our travels but two hurricanes, blizzards and Superstorm Sandy.  My little bundle of joy, my sleeps-all-night-in-the-same-spot doggie, my funny midlife doggie.


Maggie Happy Face

Maggie’s Happy Face



On patrol


  • After enduring a few days of absolutely oppressive weather conditions this past week (it was so humid out one could actually see the hazy moisture in the air), I have certainly been celebrating today’s conditions!  Following the front that passed through yesterday evening, we have had highs in the 70s and a light breeze with lows projected in the 50s overnight.  Bliss.  Absolute bliss.

What are you celebrating today?