Sunday, August 24, 2014

Curtain Project - Complete!

Today I finished the curtain project in our RV home.  Yay!  This was the other side of the living area and dining table area.  Here are the results:

Daybed Curtains 08242014

The use of long valances eliminated the need for hemming and allows Maggie to be able to still look out under them when they are closed.  Her fave spot to perch is atop the Mexican blanket on the pile of pillows in the corner.  This pattern has earth tones, including the shade of red burgundy in the other drapes.  The ones over the wide window can be opened.

Dining Curtains 08242014

Solid burgundy panels in the dining area.  I like the way the curtains allow filtered sunlight in when the day/night shades are up.

This project really didn’t take all that long to do, including installing the curtain rods.  I could have completed it yesterday, but decided to knock off around 4:30 or so in the afternoon.  The above took maybe a couple of hours this morning.  I really like the inside of our RV home now.  It is much more cozy, feels and looks more like an an apartment than an RV and the curtains will help with insulation in both Summer and Winter.

I fired up the grill this afternoon and tossed on a couple of steaks.  Oh my goodness!  They sure were good!  We don’t eat steak that often and I had not attempted grilling any before, but the result was total yumminess. 

Dave has a campfire going, and I’ll join him in a bit. 

After the sun goes down.

After the ants have stopped swarming.

Ick.  Yep, we have been experiencing an ant swarm the past couple of hours.  In the time we have been here, we have rarely even seen an ant outdoors and none inside our home, thank goodness.  Apparently conditions are just right this afternoon and w h o o s h Amityville Horror outside.  Looked up this phenomenon online and found that it lasts about 24 hours and, even if they do get indoors, vacuuming up the dead guys is about all that’s necessary.  Experienced this once in one of my homes in Texas years ago.  Came home from work and the critters were everywhere (well, not everywhere, but mainly in the bathrooms and living room near the fireplace; it just felt like everywhere at the time).  My exterminator at the time told me the same thing.  No big deal, just vacuum ‘em up.

Still, it’s icky.

Ah, the joys of New Jersey.

Just wait; it won’t be long and it will be Winter again.  The Farmers Almanac is predicting “cold, wet and white” for us just as they did last year.

Boy, were they right.  As Dave says, at least snow is clean. 

We’ve had a great weekend.  Hope you have, too!

Thanks for stopping by!



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Curtains - Part One

In my last post, I talked about putting up curtains in our home (a 5th wheel RV).  Here is a “before” photo of the slide-out where our recliners sit.


Christmas, 2011

All the side curtain panels in the rig went out the door a few weeks ago, and the valances departed last weekend.  Getting those off really wasn’t all that difficult and the result was a more updated and “cleaner” look without them.  The colors and fabric that came from the factory in the rig were just . . . well, I dunno . . . so old-fashioned, sort of.  Definitely not “me.” 

Today I got the above area done.  Here is the result:

Recliner Slide Curtains 08232014

Day/night shades in the big middle window are up

The curtains are a burgundy red, which is a nice earthy, rich color.  They also pick up the same color that is found in the wallpaper borders; there’s just a bit of that color and now the curtains seem to bring it out.  Nice!  I’m into earth tones, and they have predominated in the d├ęcor of all my homes.  I like the fact that they allow some filtered light in but, when the day/night shades are down, cut down on the sunlight coming through the shades.  The curtains should also keep the interior cooler in Summer and warmer in Winter.  With the curtains closed, I can now keep the day/night shades up without feeling so exposed.  Groovy!

I tell ya what . . . our rig is solid.  Thought I could just use my battery screwdriver to put up the rods.  Heck no.  Those walls are solid!  I even had to drill a starter hole for some of the screws. 

The hallway window is done, too, and I put up new valances in the bedroom.  Luckily, there were rods in place in the bedroom already, so it was just a matter of finding valances and hanging them.

End result is that it is much more cozy and looks and feels more like an apartment than an RV.  Dave commented that it is much less sterile-looking than before. 

Gee, only took me a little over four years to do this.  Ha!

We have an opposing slide on the other side with the daybed and our dining table.  I’ll tackle that tomorrow or next weekend.  First priority tomorrow is laundry!

Dave had a treat a bit ago.  Two vintage aircraft flew over, virtually wingtip-to-wingtip.  I heard them, but couldn’t get my shoes on and out of the rig fast enough to see them.  Drat!  The Leigh Valley Air Show is this weekend and is not all that far away from us, so I’m sure those planes were part of the event.  A couple of years ago, we experienced a totally awesome low flyover by a larger group of vintage planes.   So glad Dave witnessed this one!

Hope you’re having a high-flying weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Bit of RV Redecorating!


Being active in a few RV forums, specifically full-timer groups, I see photos of the way folks have redecorated the interior of their rigs.  Some of these rigs really come out looking like the interior of a well-appointed apartment.  Just about anything goes, apparently, from hanging curtains to painting walls and cabinets to installing residential furniture (one full-timer even has a dining room table with a glass top!) to . . . well, you name it.

I did all sorts of things to my Texas home – ripped up carpet, painted the cement floors, painted the interior (including taking off huge kitchen cabinet doors to paint and putting them back on again), replaced a toilet and faucets, hung various items on walls, replaced blinds . . .  you just about name it and I did it if physically capable.

Funny thing, though . . . I realized I have been sort of “scared” to tackle something like that in our 5th wheel.  Guess I am afraid I will “break” something ??  Not sure, exactly.

For a while now I have been wanting to take down the window valances and replace them with rods and curtains.  From the photos of others, this really makes the inside of an RV look very cozy, homey, updated and upgraded.  I bet it helps with insulating against heat and cold, too.

Well, yesterday was the day.  Faithful Black and Decker cordless screwdriver recharged and in hand, into the rig I went.  That B&D and I have logged a lot of hours together over the past 12 years.  Guess what?  Removing the valances was a piece of cake!

Daybed valance 1 08172014

Valance over daybed – not a great shot, but you get the idea

Daybed valance 2 08172014

Better exposure, complete with Maggie photo bomb.  The window in the top photo is the one to the right in this shot, with just part of it showing. 

Daybed valance 3 08172014

After removal of valances

It has only taken me about 4.5 years to tackle this.  I really did not mind them at first but, after living with them (and cleaning them . . . grrrr) for that long, I was ready for a change.  I took down six of them (five in the living room and one in the hallway) yesterday with two in the living room still to do.  The day/night shades will stay in place for the time being; they are in good shape.  Our kitchen has mini blinds with the same valances.  Those will come out at some point, but it I can already envision having to lay down on the kitchen counter to be at an angle to get the screws out! 

Yes, I have Dave’s support in tackling this project.  His response was this was not his “thing” and I should go for it.  Sweet!

The window dimensions of an RV differing quite a bit from those of a regular house, the necessity of hemming curtains was a foregone conclusion . . . or so I thought.  I was actually able to find some curtains and valances at <gasp> Walmart today that should do the trick. 

It will most likely be the weekend before I have some quiet, uninterrupted time to start hanging rods.  I plan to do the hallway window first as a test run.  No one sees that window from the inside besides us; it is not a window that one sees when walking into our RV. 

I’m excited and looking forward to the project itself and the end result!


The past couple of weeks have certainly felt like the fading of Summer and the beginning of Autumn.  Overnight lows are in the upper 40s and low 50s with daytime highs in the low 80s to upper 70s.  Wow.  Sure has felt like a short, mild Summer.  You’ll hear no complaints from me about that.

Right now, though, we have the Season of the Gnats.  Swarming gnats, even.  The swarms are at their peak (worst) in the morning hours.  It is annoying, even to the point of being icky.  Keeping in mind that these swarms are usually indicative of mating behavior, well . . . we have massive gnat orgies going on.  It really isn’t something one can enjoy walking through, let me assure you.  Did I mention it is icky?  Ha!


I fired up the grill Saturday and we ended up with hamburgers for dinner.  I have to admit, they were pretty darn good.  Like Mexican food around here, we can’t seem to get a decent burger, so I’ll just make our own.  (We have not eaten Mexican food out here.  I won’t even attempt to do so.)   I have grilled burgers before, but Dave said these were the best yet.

That’s about it for tonight.

Thanks for stopping by!










Friday, August 15, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things - A Blog Hop Post


Celebrate the Small Things

Gosh!  It’s Friday again and time to Celebrate the Small Things!

Dave knocked my socks off last Christmas with the gift of a silver link bracelet with diamond chips throughout.  Living the philosophy of saving “nice” things for “special” occasions, I wear it daily.  In fact, the only time it comes off my wrist is when I’m on the mower.  Well, a couple of days ago I thought I had lost it.  Figured the clasp broke or came open somehow and . . . it was gone.  I tell ya, I was truly in tears trying to accept that it was MIA but still refusing to believe it was gone; I still felt a spiritual connection to it.

Yes, it is “just” a bracelet, but Dave obviously took great care in selecting it and enjoyed seeing me all silly-girly-giddy-mushy when opening it Christmas morning.

A couple of hours later, there, on the ground by our RV . . . relief! 


It is tucked away until I can get to the jeweler to see about getting a different clasp.

That’s it for this week.  Of course, there’s always the celebration of being being alive and essentially healthy, the nice weather we’ve been having the past week and . . . well, stuff!

What are you celebrating today?


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rain in the Skies, Rain in My Heart


It has been a dreary day out my window and in my heart. 

We have had cloudy and, at times, rainy skies today.  Supposedly the heaviest downpours are yet to come overnight, but right now radar does not indicate that.  We’ll see.  It has been just icky enough to prevent outdoor activities, though.  On top of that, it’s gnat season here again.  Little buggars buzz around one’s ears, eyes and nose and have a habit of hanging around in tremendous swarms. 

I admit I am grieving for Robin Williams today.  I know that may sound silly but, as the saying goes, it is what it is. 

Perhaps it was hearing about his struggle with depression and feeling sad that he was in such emotional and spiritual pain while providing us with so much joy and laughter. 

Perhaps it is because I had been privy to a glimpse of the way he cared for strangers and shone a bit of light and joy in their lives when he could, that he was not the stereotypical self-centered celebrity and did not hold himself so high as to not share himself with others.  (See yesterday’s blog post.)  News articles have echoed similar situations as the one I talked about in my post yesterday.   

In 2002, I was barely a year out of breast cancer treatment when my ex moved out of our home in Texas, ending 25 years of being together.  Coming on the heels of breast cancer, the events of September 11 in our nation and other life stressors, the dissolution of my marriage caused me to enter into the darkest days of my life. 

For about three months, I was functional, but my functionality was a sham.  I worked as a home-based medical transcriptionist, so I did not have to go to an off-site office.  I worked because I had bills to pay and had to feed my animals.  Me?  I barely ate and hardly slept.  Going anywhere was a struggle for fear of breaking down in public.  I found no joy or interest in anything.  The fur of my dog and cats was frequently soaked with my tears.  I never knew I was capable of heart-wrenching, body-wracking sobbing.  Every day.  More than once a day.  Sitting on the floor of the bathroom with the lights off and door closed.  I told everyone I was okay; however, having a medical background, I knew I was depressed.  I recognized all the classical symptoms in myself.  I kept telling myself, “You’ll get over it.  Just tough your way through it.” 

Yeah, right.

Ending up in my doctor’s office in November of that year with a respiratory infection, he asked me how things were going in general.  Well, that did it.  I lost it.  After we talked a bit about all the life stressors I had experienced in less than 12 months and, knowing me and realizing I was definitely not my usual self,  he diagnosed me with situational depression and civilian post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).   I walked out of his office with a prescription for a mild antidepressant.

Small-town doctors can be a true blessing.

Within a few weeks of starting the medication, I began to feel more like myself again and began to walk the path of healing.  During that time of healing, I found my joy, my peace, my strength and my life again.  I took the medication for just under a year.

Never once during those dark days did I consider suicide, even with my world having crashed down upon me, even not knowing what I supposed to do next, even not knowing how I could possibly be happy again.

Looking back, I realize now that it was a process I needed to go through to begin healing, to become an vessel, if you will, to fill with joy, peace, strength and – later – love once again.  As the saying goes, it didn’t kill me; it made me stronger.

Perhaps what saddens me is knowing the intense overwhelming despair I felt and knowing that Robin – or anyone – could feel such absolute hopelessness to the point of taking their own life.

Today I am being gentle with myself, allowing myself to grieve for the man whose light here on Earth was extinguished sooner than we would have liked, who showered us with such laughter while battling his inner demons. 

I hope his soul has found peace and rest at last.

I hope that out of his passing will come nonjudgmental, loving and supportive dialogues about depression.   I hope that those who are suffering with depression and PTSD will reach out – or others will reach out to them – and realize that they are not alone.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Today There is Less Laughter in the World . . .


You may have heard of the passing of Robin Williams earlier today.  He was 63 years old.

So many of us found laughter and joy in his films and admired his more serious works.  You might have even been in the audience of a live performance or seen him on The Actors Studio or similar venue.

You know Robin as a comedian and actor.  Did you also know he was an accomplished cyclist?

For several years, I participated in the Lance Armstrong Foundation Ride for the Roses when it was only held in Austin, Texas.  This was a weekend-long event, with seminars and expo Friday and Saturday and the ride on Sunday.  It may have been 2004, but I’m not sure as I attended the ride for several years in a row back then.  I booked a bed and breakfast suite in Austin and made it a weekend of self-pampering.  Of course, the highlight of the weekend was Sunday’s ride.  Here’s me crossing the finish line in 2004.

Thousands of cyclists – over 6000 - came from all across the nation and literally from around the globe.  You never really knew who you might be standing next to at the event staging area.

Riders were composed of survivors like myself, those riding in support of someone battling cancer and those riding in memory of someone who had passed.

There was so much energy in the air, so much spirit, courage and determination.  It was somewhat of a spiritual experience.  That day, during those hours of the ride, we were a family. 

We were one, united by cancer.

At these events, groups of riders depart the start in stages.  The riders for the longest route go first, then the riders for the next route and so forth until everyone is on the road.  There can be hundreds of riders in each group, so this can take a bit of time.

So here it was early morning and chilly; the sun had barely risen.  We’re at the staging area, the National Anthem has been played, Lance has given his pre-ride talk and the first group of riders is away. 

Who appears on the stage?

Robin Williams.

Robin started talking . . . and talking.  The entire crowd started laughing.  I’m sure his was an impromptu “performance;”  heck, it was just Robin talking to us and I don’t even remember what he was saying.  What I do remember is the sound of laughter filling the early morning air.  My group waited for almost an hour but – you know what?  It seemed like five minutes thanks to the antics of Robin and his ability to engage the crowd. 

During this, a rider standing next to me started telling me how he had encountered Robin at the expo the day before.  He said Robin was so down-to-earth and asked the guy why he was riding.  He told Robin how he was riding for his girlfriend, who was extremely ill with cancer and a huge fan of his.  Next thing he knew, Robin told him to call his girlfriend and he would say hello to her.  The guy called and handed his phone to Robin when his girlfriend got on the line.  The guy told me the conversation went like this (okay, it’s been several years, but the last line is basically verbatim”"):

“Hi!  This is Robin Williams!”

“No it’s not.  No way.”

“Well, who the hell do you think it is?!?!?”

The guy told me his girlfriend and Robin had a nice wee chat.  She was absolutely overwhelmed and so thrilled!

There was no press release about this, no cameras . . . it was something Robin just did to brighten the day of a cancer warrior.

I never met Robin at these events and didn’t even get close to him; however, I am feeling a personal loss at his passing.

Robin’s status as a celebrity was huge . . . but not nearly as big as his heart. 

There is less laughter in our world today . . .






Sunday, August 10, 2014

Taking Advantage of the Weekend . . .

. . . and the nicest weekend weather so far this Summer.  That’s what we’re doing these two days.  Yay!  Heavy is rain is coming Tuesday into Wednesday, so we’re making the most of two fine days to enjoy the “camping” and outdoor aspects of being full-time RVers. 

August 9 Warren Glen

Conditions can be harsh here and we have experienced some challenges in the form of hurricanes, Nor’easters, subzero temperatures with foot-plus snowfall during Winter and just plain severe thunderstorms but . . . I tell ya what . . . when it’s nice here, it is really quite splendid.  The skies are some of the bluest I have lived under, we cohabit the property with a variety of wildlife and the bird community is varied and populous.  It is peaceful here.  And quiet. 

This past week I became a volunteer administrator for a popular full-timers group on Facebook.  We are over 9000 in membership with new members joining daily.  It’s overall an informative and entertaining bunch of people – veteran full-timers and dreamers of embarking on the lifestyle.  Yes, there can be some “attitudes,” but those are few, to be expected with large groups of people and are not allowed to get out of line.  That’s where we bouncers come in.  I’m enjoying it immensely; as our situation is somewhat isolative, it does give me a sense of community with like-minded folks. 

My oDesk assignment still exists but I am awaiting a new project.  One should be coming along soon, and I’m looking forward to be active with that again.  In the meantime, I’m keeping an eye out for another position that will fit in with my schedule. 

I cured the new grill Friday and then christened it last evening with grilled salmon patties and steak fries.  Using a new grill for the first time is somewhat of an experiment and certainly a “getting to know you” experience.  Tonight’s menu is grilled chicken and sausage, corn on the cob (going on the grill) from a local roadside stand and potato salad (not going on the grill.)

August 8 axe

Dave spent time Thursday and Friday splitting wood for campfires.  We have loads of wood, branches, twigs and what have you on the property.  Some of these logs are from hurricanes and Nor’easters over the past couple of years.  There are so many trees on the property that we typically have branches on the ground every time a decent storm rolls through.

August 9 evening

Saturday night by the campfire

On one of our evening walks recently, we noticed some of the trees are starting to turn and there are fallen leaves already.  We have had a few downright chilly mornings lately and it will be time for thermals and jackets before long.  Hopefully I won’t have to use my snow boots as often this Winter as last.  I love the cold weather but I can do without 2+ feet of snow on the ground.  That’s another reason to make the most of the beautiful days we do get here.

With that thought in mind, I think it may be time to head outdoors to give Maggie a clip and possibly a bath and then get the grill prepped for dinner later!  Hope you’re having a groovy weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!






Friday, August 8, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things - A Blog Hop Post


Celebrate the Small Things


Every Friday it’s time to Celebrate the Small Things!


  • I’m celebrating our new smoker/grill I found yesterday!  I’m glad it wasn’t too late in the season to find one.  Put it through the curing process today.

August 8 grill

Tomorrow we’ll have salmon burgers and then Sunday I’ll be doing chicken and sausage with corn on the cob from a local farm vendor.  Sweet.


  • We had an impromptu midweek campfire a couple of days ago.

August 6 fire


I so enjoy our campfire evenings, quiet time spent together sitting by the fire or rummaging around for more twigs.  Hubby spoiled me with this unplanned evening and he has been prepping for this weekend by splitting logs today.

August 8 wood splitting

Guess I’m celebrating a laid-back lifestyle and an awesome husband!


  • I am also celebrating and giving thanks for having doctors here who are people and not just clinicians.  They – referring to my medical doctor and my surgeon – actually listen to me and treat not just the medical condition, but me as a person.  Awesome.  These days, that is certainly something to celebrate, eh? 


What are you celebrating today?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things - A Blog Hop Post


Celebrate the Small Things


Here it is Friday again and time to Celebrate the Small Things!

  • Today I am celebrating the fact that the weekly laundry task is done, so I have the weekend cleared of that chore.  Well, it does say we can celebrate small things, right?  Of course, every week I am grateful we have a washer/dryer set here and I don’t have to go a laundromat.  As a full-time RVer, that is a big thing!


  • We had a totally awesome storm one night recently.  There wasn’t much in the way of rainfall or wind, but that was the second fiercest display of thunder and lightning I have ever witnessed, vying in intensity with one I experienced in 2005, in Washington, DC.  It was dark out, but every few seconds was bright as daylight with lightning.  The thunder would boom and roll across the countryside for several seconds.  I am celebrating the fact that we didn’t incur a direct strike here and only lost power off and on.

July 13 Maggie morning


  • Never distressed by thunder or lightning (or fireworks), the above storm was the first time our Maggie showed signs of unease and restlessness.  We were all a bit on edge, I think.  Even after getting into bed, I got up and dressed again after a while just because it was so crazy out.  She was sick the next morning, and I am celebrating and grateful that this was a one-off occurrence and not a repeat of her illness back in May. 

So there you have it – my celebrations this week!

What are you celebrating today?