Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pleasant Weekend

Dave took a pass on the bike yesterday, with the winds being a bit of an issue and just, well, not feeling like cycling.  That meant we had plenty of time for a Walmart run and then groceries afterwards.

Both Walmarts here are a bit more of a drive than they were in New Jersey, so I only go once every couple of months.  It’s not so much the drive, but the traffic, etc.  We went to Dave’s store, which is a few miles more down the road than the closest one.  Needed printer cartridges and a few more items that I can’t get locally.  We also got a few paver stones for the spot where we stand to access the basement on the driver’s side and for the front corner of the patio, so we don’t have to duck under the rig to stay on concrete.  I think we’ll add a couple more there.   Dave got a new pair of shorts that won’t fall off him (we’ve both lost weight since last year) and I got a pair of Earth Spirit sandals to replace my current ones when they wear out.  One used to be able to purchase Earth Spirit shoes at places other than Walmart and online, but Walmart seems to be the only vendor for them now.  They are the most comfortable footwear and essentially the only brand I have worn for years.  Whenever I manage to spot a pair in my size (5 or 6) in a style I know works for me, I get them and stow them away for when current shoes are retired.  Yes, we took advantage of the associate discount.  Woot!

Next it was on to Kroger’s.  We have not been impressed with the H.E.B. that is quite close, and agreed last week that we will shop at Kroger’s in the future.  It’s a bit more expensive on some items but about the same on others, and they do have decent specials.  This is the first H.E.B. I’ve been in that is . . . well . . . not exactly scuzzy, but just not on par with my past experience.  Kroger’s is a much more pleasant and relaxing shopping experience.

The storm now in the East passed through here around 3 AM this morning as predicted, rocking and shaking our rig like crazy.  We had rain and a bit of lightning, but neither were severe; it was the wind that was the violent part.  There were a couple of big limbs off trees in the park.  We are fortunate to be in the open with no trees nearby.  We checked at daylight and found no leaks and no damage to our home on wheels.

Dear friends Sue and Billie were in town today and stopped by for a visit.  Yay!  Absolutely dear friends and so fun and relaxing to hang out with as usual. 

Billie and Sue 04272016

Aren’t they just cute?  They were exercising their rig.

Sue and I met about . . . I guess it’s been 13 years (?) ago at a volunteer function related to the Brenham Relay for Life.  I met Billie at the event a short while later.  I dunno, we just kinda fell in together.  You know that little saying on the Internet, something like how you meet someone and think, “Gee, I really like this person.  I think we’re gonna be friends.”  We used to hang out more when I lived in Brenham and I’ve missed their company.  We kept in touch by phone and email while Dave and I were out of Texas, but nothing beats spending time in person.  I love them both very much and am so fortunate to have them in my life. 

I’m tickled I actually remembered to take photos!

Not much else is happening in the Barnes home this evening and I’m actually okay with that.  We’ll probably wrap up our marathon of Hinterland on Netflix and then search for another series. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Looking Down the Road

I’m grateful again today that we are in a park with concrete sites and roads.  Dave just now mentioned he could only imagine the state of the other park we were at briefly when we landed here in College Station.  The term “mud pit” surely describes it.  Here, though, we are good.

April 18 2016

Break in the rains on April 18

The days and nights seem to fly by; perhaps it does have something to do with the aging process?  As one gets on the “downhill side” of Life years, does Time truly seem to pass more swiftly?  Perhaps it’s a “mental” thing.  When one is young, one seems to be waiting for different stages . . . summer break from school, graduation, first job, first home . . . you get the idea.  Looking down the expanse that is the open road of one’s life to come.  In later years, perhaps we subconsciously realize we’re gliding on the “downhill” side.  Get it? 

I have to smile . . . the song on my Pandora station right now is “Where Are We Going From Here?”  We have been casually talking about the future.  No, we’re not ready to make a jump at this time, and it will be, realistically, two years before that time comes.  With that in mind, now is the time to start visiting the topic.  We are looking at ultimately transitioning from RV living to a 55+ community, i.e., apartment/villa/townhome so we do not have maintenance, grounds upkeep, snow shoveling. 

I hear you exclaim, “Snow shoveling??!”

We lived in northern Minnesota for a couple of years; yes, that included Winters.  It was a small town with not much between us and Canada except a lot of trees, lakes and black bears.  We both really liked that environment.  It was wild, simple, pristine, laid back . . . yes, Winter is cold with temperatures dipping down to –30 or so.  It is a dry cold – trust me, that makes a world of difference - and easier for us to physically tolerate.  One adapts and dresses for it.  Yes, you cover your face in subzero conditions.  Your breath freezes.  Your nose hairs freeze!  Snow?  Yes, there’s snow; however, life in that environment continues.  Things don’t come to a standstill – except during actual blizzards – just because there’s white stuff on the ground.  Summers are mild.  There are fewer occurrences of weather-related disasters such flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and so forth.  Extreme cold each Winter also seems to “clear the slate,” if you will, with regard to insects, viruses, etc.  It’s like you start afresh each Spring.  We like that concept and feel the colder climes are healthier for us all around.

Betty and Baby Hibbing Dec 2006

Me and Baby (our dog-child then) strolling around town – December 2006

There is something fun, magical, unique and perhaps a wee bit insane about firing up the backyard grill, standing in snow and having the white flakes come down on you while doing so.

Ever seen the sun shine on ice crystals in the air, causing them to look like twinkling diamonds suspended in air?  Stood on your back porch and marveled at the Northern Lights?  Ever cycled the numerous Rails To Trails paths and seen a young black bear up ahead or had a large deer cross your path right in front of you?  Heard Canada Geese and the call of the Loon from your open bedroom window in the early morning?  Have you sat at the feet of a Native Elder and been honored by the wisdom and insight of yourself bestowed upon you?

If you have, then you perhaps understand the voice that speaks inside, calling you back to that land. 

Our Maple

Looking across the alley at the maple tree in our backyard in MN

Pros and cons.  Unfortunately, there are financial considerations.  Minnesota’s health insurance premiums are predicted to skyrocket exponentially in the coming year and the state does have a personal income tax. 

Texas is financially more favorable as the overall cost of living is lower and there is no personal income tax.

Wherever we end up, I think we agree that it will be a smaller town, one which has necessary amenities but not a surplus of businesses, hustle, bustle, traffic and people.  We’ll be back where one more intimately shares the land, sky and water with Mother Earth’s creatures of the wild kind.

Warren Glen 10102012

Security job site - Warren Glen, NJ – October 2012 – See?  This is the “problem.”  We spent 3.5 years at this site in a small community.  We became “spoiled” with the beauty, the remoteness, living in Nature, the simplicity, the “wildness,” the peace, the privacy.

So, that’s our “problem,” mine, at least.  My soul looks forward to the time of escape from a large city with so much traffic and so many people.  I know, I know.  College Station is not truly considered a large city; however, it is a megalopolis by my standards.

We’ll see what the future brings and how we can shape ours.  There may be communities in Texas which would suit our everyday living needs with regards to housing, but . . .

What about one’s soul?  Does one have to “settle” for something totally absent of what is desired?  I confess it saddens me to think so.  Can’t one manifest what one’s soul longs for?  I have always believed so.

In the meantime, today is our “Sunday.”  The rains have hopefully moved out of the area for a while this afternoon.  Dave is preparing to get out on the bike again today – he logged 52 miles yesterday – and I’ll be going for a much-needed hair trim later.  Then it’s cooking Mexican Lasagna once I return; it’s a great dish for a few meals this week and then for portioning and storing in the freezer for a later date.  An evening of chilling – we finished House of Cards and have moved on to Hinterland.  Tomorrow it’s back to work!

Thanks for strolling down the path of future plans with me!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

DIY Project Done and Dusted

Quite some time ago, I removed the godawful headboard that came with our RV.  Paisley fabric . . . funky-looking and just a dust collector. 


Sans headboard 04102016

Not having time, energy, creativity or tools, I had not come up with a replacement, and the bare wall was starting to really annoy me.  Not to mention protecting both heads and wall when sleeping.

Thus began a search over the Internet for ideas on something to put in that space that would look better yet still be practical.

I found headboard tiles!  After reading bunches of reviews and tips on installation, I purchased a set.  They are 12” x 12” and can be arranged to suit one’s needs and whims.  I read that Command Strips worked well for adhering them to walls.  The adhesive that comes with them apparently does not work well and leaves a gluey residue.  All our framed photos are hung with Command Strips, so Dave picked up a few packs for me a few weeks ago.

The box of tiles has been sitting in the living room for almost a month.  With work and Life, I just haven’t had time or energy to tackle this project.

I played hooky from work this afternoon and got busy.  Armed with spirit level, measuring tape and pencil, I determined where the tiles would go. 

Discovered that those two lamps are not quite level with each other.  They aren’t off by much, but just enough to make ya go, “Hmmmm . . .”

Headboard 04102016

The tiles really are level and aligned.  It’s either the light from the window or, more than likely, me off kilter a bit.  I’m tired!

Yes, a standard layout.  I tried different configurations, but the lamps were in the way.  Ah well, it’s better than it was and finishes off the room.  I’d like to update the lampshades next (and the ones in the living room, which are exactly the same), but that’s a project for another time.  I’m not crazy about the duvet pattern, but the duvet itself works well for us.  Again, that will be another update sometime.

So, finally, that DIY project is done and dusted.  I’m thinking I might as well clip Maggie this evening.  She needs it (again) and I’ve already blown off most of the day.  Spending time with her is fun, she feels better with a clip and I’ll have these two major time-intensive projects done.  Then I can jump back into work tomorrow full-tilt.

Hope you’ve had a fun, productive and rewarding Sunday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Another Week and More Cooking

So it’s Wednesday again already!  I’m grateful we made it through a week with no malfunctions of any sort.  Haha! 

I tell ya, my work is steady lately and for that I am also grateful.  Whew!  Keeps me hopping during the week.  As a matter of fact, I contemplated putting in some time yesterday or today (days off) but then thought, “Nope.  Not gonna get in the habit of that.  I need my time off.”  Thursdays are my “Mondays,” and catch-up days, so I know I’ll be hustling tomorrow.

Yesterday was errands-and-chores day, and I did accomplish everything, including a late afternoon boogie to H.E.B. for groceries.  I like to get all the errands done in one day, so the next day I can just be here at home to cook, chill or whatever, “whatever” being a blog post, crashing in my recliner in front of the TV . . . taking a day at a slower pace.

When returning home from the post office in the early afternoon yesterday, I overshot the exit to the park.  Was just grooving along in the truck with tunes cranked up and, next thing I knew, I was passing the park.  Contributing to that overshoot is the fact that the exit for the park is closed due to construction, so one has to get off the highway via the exit right before this one. 

Oopsies.  It was just one of those days when I was digging the drive and could have driven from here to . . . Iowa.  Ha!

Keeping in mind the new routine I want to establish of giving the truck a workout now and then, I just said, “Why not?” and kept on going.  Turned my sights to Hearne, a small town about 20 miles north on Hwy 6.  Cranked up the music and settled in to enjoy the drive.  Engaged the cruise control for a while just to make sure it still works.  It does. 

There’s not a whole lot in Hearne of interest from a quick glance, excepting perhaps the Ace Hardware store downtown.  Small-town Ace Hardware . . . love ‘em.  I tried to think of something I might need as an excuse to go in and wander around, but came up short.  So I went around the block and pointed Truck toward the barn.

Me, Truck, highway and tunes.  Bliss.

When I did arrive home about an hour later, I realized I felt bit more relaxed.  Thanked Truck for some much-needed windshield time.  “Me” time.  Sweet.

Dave got busy this morning and washed our awning.  He did a great job and it looks soooo much better!  We were able to leave it deployed for a while, but then the wind intensified and we had to retract it.  He clocked 30 miles on the bike after taking care of that maintenance task.

Wednesday cooking ensued while he was away – sausage kolaches, a beef-and-wild rice casserole and then cinnamon rolls (not from scratch, sorry).  Dog fed and walked, dishes done and dried, and now steak fries are in the oven which will accompany the burgers I’ll make in a bit.

Whew!  There are 40+ work emails awaiting my attention, along with routine end-of-week tasks and current special projects. 

That DIY project I alluded to recently?  It’s still in the box here in the living room.  I’ve eyeballed what needs to be done but need 2-3 hours of dedicated, uninterrupted (quiet) time to tackle it.  Hopefully soon.

Yeah, right.  Ha!

There are other things I’d like to talk about, but it’s just about time to put the burgers on. 

Perhaps next time, whenever that might be!

Thanks for stopping by!  Ya’ll be safe out there, okay?