Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Queen of the Road

this will become our main decision soon
Well, we've told the kids and a couple of close friends, so it's official and now I can write about it.  After getting the canned ham to a state of perfection we wondered what to do next.  Then I uttered something Left Brain has been waiting to hear for many years...let's do this full time.  Yikes, I thought. Who said THAT?  It sounded like my voice. 

Don't get me wrong.  I love my canned ham and it has brought us some fabulous adventures, but a couple of months in a small enclosure is probably our limit.  It finally did rain today and while I love the sound of rain on the metal roof, it does limit your ability to get outside and more than three feet away from each other; something I believe is required for a solid marriage.

So the planning has begun.  We will prepare to sell the house when we return to Wisconsin and purchase something to live in and hit the road.  Sounds simple enough.  The thought of always being in a moderate to warm climate with fresh vegetables is very appealing.

The planning is easy - the implementation of the plan not so much.  We have amassed (dare I say hoarded?) a lot of "stuff" over the years that we have hung on to with the idea that "I might need that some day".  This is from being raised by a generation that were children during the Great Depression.

Thinking of this project has caused me some sleepless nights, thrashing around in my bunk like a gerbil spinning on its wheel.  Lots of energy expended, but not getting anywhere with it.  After the first few nights it got better as I started to list what I wanted to part with and who might be able to use it.

The idea of leaving my family, friends and community is difficult, but I know it's only for the crappier months, we will return to our home area for the spring and summer, so it's not like I'll never see them again.  I guess you could call me a fair weather friend....literally.  Thankfully the technology available today allows us to stay in very close touch with them via phone, email and Skype.

At first the thought of leaving my gardens made me almost sick, but then I considered the flip side of not having to do the physical work of creating and maintaining it.  It was great fun,but each year gets a little harder.  Not to mention the money we will save by my not buying plants and garden art, as well as craft supplies...because there is simply no place to put it in an RV.

My biggest concern was how I was going to pursue my art dolls while on the road.  So the plan is to dispose of the larger dolls in my current inventory this year and begin a line that will fit nicely into the flat rate boxes.  I will create them, photograph them and put them on Etsy for sale.  That way I can ship them off when ever they sell.  I still hope to do shows, but the first year will be necessary to get a fix on this new lifestyle.

Left Brain was a little bummed about having to sell his motorcycle until I had another sleepless night of strategic planning.  We will rent storage for the first year at least and keep anything we're just not sure of parting with, as well as his bike.  This way I can store my show displays for summer shows and inventory to avoid having to carry around extra weight. That way when we return he can still enjoy riding his bike around...and it will get him out of the RV and a chance to get a way from me. 

I hated the idea of parting with my sleep number bed until I saw one at an RV dealer.  If we can get a rig with a king sized bed, there shouldn't be any reason I can bring my sleep number with me.  Now that would be perfect!  We will try to make that a reality.

So, we are prepared to embark on a new journey...an adventure if you will.  It will involve a major simplification of our lifestyle by removal of things and unused stuff.  It will intensify our bonding with each other....or murder, we'll see.  It will allow us to focus on the simple things in life; the preparation of our meals, seeing new places, meeting new people.  

I knew the plan was right when after the first couple of days of thinking "what the hell are we doing?" to asking "how soon can we make this happen?".

You will be invited along for the ride as we explore the ins and outs of entering this new adventure.  The blog will still be entitled Life in a Canned Ham...it's just that we will be supersized.

If anyone is interested in purchasing the canned ham, I have created a page at the bottom of blog that has more photos and information about it.

Long Live the Queen of Dreams


Monday, January 30, 2012

the canned ham is reaching perfection

We've made many changes to our little abode, but these recent ones were the best.  And the most fun.  My left brained husband is finally starting to realize the joy of the creative process rather than just his usual linear thinking of "get-r-done".  And I must say I am envious of some of his design concepts and ideas.  Oh what a team we make!  As I told him yesterday...together we have half a brain...but fortunately that's all that seems to be required to get along.
here the table is pushed way in to allow lots of room

Lack of storage space in a tiny shell is the biggest problem.  So, I had added the plastic drawers to fit this.  Not great looking (yet, anyway) but a real problem solver.  I hated to just remove the triangle cushion and finally figured out I could flip it around and use it as a back support while I write.  She Devil also enjoys the added height of her new perch.

here the table is pulled out so you can see the wood shelf
The other bane of our existence was the table whose rear legs kept collapsing as we slid it back and forth across the floor.  This is necessary to allow entry for two old people to be able to get up and down from the table.  So, we built a shelf to put over the back seat cushion to add some height and removed those flimsy legs.  Now the table rests on the wooden shelf and is easily slid sideways and back and forth.  Those that know me understand that I LOVE to rearrange furniture and this is the only thing I can actually push around...other than Left Brain, of course.

This also creates a nice spot underneath for storing briefcases, computers, whatever.  While reclining back in my seat I do enjoy tucking my feet under there.  Our previous cat, Simcha (may her memory be for a blessing) would have loved hiding in that spot.

Our most recent creation was the storage area above the fridge.  

We put the little microwave on top since it mostly just makes popcorn anyway and Left Brain constructed some shelving for me.  

My original plan was to have one big shelf but it morphed into a little different arrangement.  

I like the look of the black canvas containers...much nicer than looking at a lot of half eaten bags of potato chips and molding bread.  But I really wanted to be able to see some of the smaller supplies that seem to get lost, even in this small of a space.  I know it's hard to believe anything could get "lost", but I couldn't find my pajamas for two days before they miraculously reappeared.  But I digress.

So, we added shelving options - always important to me.  Left Brain did the hardest ones in the back and then after seeing how it was done, let me play with his power tools and build the ones in the front.  I love power tools, such fun. 

Now I have shallower shelves in the back to find those pesky little things and they are covered by the larger items in the canvas totes.  The added beauty of this is that when the nets are added for those times we are moving, I don't need to pack up anything - it all stays right in place.

There was a lesson learned here also.  I wanted a place to just store my unmentionables without having to run outside into the cabana to retrieve clothes from my plastic storage tote.  We used to store them in the car, but with my new improved cabana design, we can have them right outside the canned ham.  Pretty cool, huh?  Again, I digress.

The solution was to put my undies (there, they are no longer "unmentionables") in one of the smaller totes in my newly constructed pantry area.  It's not a problem storing some of the everyday items on top of them, usually.  Lesson learned:  onions do not make a good sachet for your underwear drawer...er, tote.

The changes to the cabana involved placement of a second table on the back wall, under which is our clothing storage totes.  The tablecloth on top acts as a buffer for rain (not a problem here in Texas!) and dust and dirt (definitely a problem here in Texas!).

I picked up a couple of plastic "personal tables" (did they used to be called TV trays?) to use for serving food, playing cards, etc.  Oh, wait!  I get it.  There is no TV outside, so personal table does make sense.

For photos visit the page at the bottom of my blog showing all the modifications made to the canned ham.

Long Live the Queen of Home Improvement

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Inpromptu visits

The novelty of being the tiniest camper in the RV park is somewhat like being a freak in the circus.  Everyone wants to see it.  It's just so darn stinking cute!  

This leads to some "unscheduled" visits to 'just take a look'.  We're used to this and have thought about charging Forest Rivers a commission for every sales pitch and home tour we've conducted.  But we really don't mind, it's fun to show it off.

The visit last night threw me a bit off however.  I didn't hear anyone approaching and sure enough, there was the "could I take a look inside?"  Why does this happen the only times we haven't done the dishes and I have stuff laying around?  Oh, because that's it's normal state....I get it.

Anyway, I barely had time to grab the bra laying on the bed and stuff it in the fridge and out of sight.  I don't know...it was just the first place I could think of.  He was quite impressed and asked if he could show it to his wife sometime.  Sigh.  What are you going to say?  Of course, we'd love to.  Owning a cute little rig is such a chore, having to keep it tidy.  But then again it takes all of about 15 minutes to have it looking spiffy.

Left Brain was a bit puzzled when he went to fetch something from the fridge and he pulled out my bra.  He just shook his head, didn't ask and put it back in there.  Actually, I might be on to something here for those hot, humid days when I can't seem to cool off.  I may add a pair of panties also.  Hmmm.  I think I'll wrap the bra around the milk jug and see what he says next.

Long live the Queen of Cool Underwear.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Is that a cat..on a leash?

Our neighbors are from Ontario and have a black and white puppy and a bengal cat.  They take both of them out for walks every day.  

It looks so cool to see a cat on a leash.  I suggested this to She Devil but she just looked at me like I'd grown a third eyeball.  I guess she's not about to be retrained at this stage of her life.

No, this is not an endangered animal, it's an exotic breed of feline and he is stunning.  He's also very friendly and photogenic.  This is the first shot I have of him, I'm hoping to get more during our stay here.

Left Brain and I have considered adding kayaks to our camping outings, possibly an inflatable one like Nick from Gypsy Journal uses.  

But this one really intrigued me - is this an amphibious kayak?

Long Live the Queen!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

And the wind finally dies down

Here's Left Brain barnstorming the Tropic Winds RV resort in his bi-plane.  He's such a rogue pilot!
When we first moved into Tropic Winds the wind was blowing something furious.  I asked the lady during check in if it was always this windy.  She answered quickly "no" and I was relieved until she added "not always...but usually".

There are days I hate the wind and the constant flapping of the cabana and wondering if we'll become airborne at some point.  I do recall specifically wishing the wind would stop...just STOP!  I understand why some of the pioneer women crossing the great plains went insane.  The wind never stops.  Of course, it may have been from living in a covered wagon with a bunch of howling kids, pregnant, wearing a dress and never having a break.  That might be it.  But I still think it was the wind.

Well...be careful what you wish for.  The wind stopped today.  There was a respite last week also and I'm sensing a pattern here.  When the temperature is in the 80's and the humidity is 100% - the wind dies down to nothing.

Then I find myself wishing for the wind again - just a breeze...anything.  I guess I'm never happy.

Long Live the Queen of the Wind

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Laguna Atacosta Wildlife Refuge

Finally, we got to an area where at least there are some shrubs waist high or better.  Mostly covered with thorns and impassible, but still...foliage of any kind.  I'm talking about the Laguna Anacosta Wildlife Refuge.

At first I thought the sign was a joke or someone had exotic cats as pets, but these are wild.  You can adopt an ocelot for $20 at the park.  

On the way into the park we saw this coyote running through the field.  That was exciting in itself.  The photo's not so good, but you can see it's a very large and healthy animal.  Not like the scraggly ones I saw in Arizona.

There were many birds in the area also, but most were too far away to get a good shot.  One thing I did get close to...closer than I really wanted to, was this huge black snake.  I didn't see the head, I thought it was a bicycle tire or a hose or something laying on the ground but then it started to slither into a hole in the ground.  Not a stellar snake shot, but keep in mind the circumference of his body was about the size of my wrist.

They are home to the few remaining ocelots, with about 30 of them in the park.  And they are doing everything possible to make sure you don't run over any of them.  

There are warning signs everywhere, I do believe each cat has its own sign.

What was even stranger is that they have imposed a speed limit on the deer down here.  

They must be incredibly fast to be causing such a ruckus.

We only did the 17 mile drive and didn't hike any of the trails, so we will have to revisit this refuge again soon.  Left Brain paid his $10 to pay for a lifetime of Federal parks, so we're all set to visit as often as we'd like to.  It's good to be an old guy's trophy wife...even if he didn't win first prize!

On the way out I spotted a turtle and had Left Brain stop so I could take its photo.  At least this subject wasn't going to bolt away from me too fast...or need their own speed limit sign.  I forget the name of them, but they have the coolest shells.
Well, that's it for today.  I'm having a Suzie Homemaker attack and need to go clean the canned ham and rearrange something...anything.

Long Live the Queen of the Ocelots

Monday, January 23, 2012

I really hate to miss this workshop!

Traveling is fun, but there are always cool things going on back home that you hate to miss.

I was preparing my photo entries for competition and when I looked at the club's website I saw that the topic for the January workshop was mating and mounting!   They are such a frisky bunch!  My guess is that it was matting and mounting...it would make more sense.  But who really knows?

Long Live the Queen of the Camera

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Sometimes I'm just blown away by the lack of foresight given when a sign is prepared or a statement made.  Of course, I'm guilty often of the latter...I seem to have no filter any more.

For instance, when I found the Weight Watcher's meeting here down in Texas the first thing that threw me off was the sign on the front door instructing members of Weight Watcher's to use the large door on the side of the building.  What!?  Are they afraid we won't fit through a normal door?

Then there was such a crowd I couldn't find any place to sit down.  The receptionist explained it was due to all the New Years Resolutions and people determined to lose that weight.  "But, don't worry...they'll thin out" she replied.

Hmmm.  At least that was an optimistic statement.  I think.

Long Live the Queen of WW 

Friday, January 20, 2012

And I thought buying drugs near the border would be easy

Maybe there's a lot of drug buying going on near here, but only for humans.  Try to refill an insulin prescription for a cat and it's a whole different story.  Here's how it went down.

She Devil has a decent supply of insulin for her diabetes right now but will need more before leaving in March for Wisconsin.  Yes, I could have purchased it in advance, but with her general health and age I didn't want to purchase it in advance in case...well, you know.

I had checked out in advance and had the address and phone number of another VCA Animal hospital nearby.  So, no problemo...I just sent an email to my trusty vet friends back home to fax an order to them and I'd pick it up later.  Hmm.  It seems that there is no answer at this place. There is no website, just an address and a nonworking phone.  Maybe it's just a front for something else?  Who knows.

So, I found another vet nearby called the Furry Friends Animal Hospital.  I did make sure this really was for pets and not for Furrys, a group I was unaware of until my nephew Jon introduced me to his world of people who dress up as animals.  I always learn something from this guy.  I recall at Thanksgiving touching up his eyes while he groomed his arms.  Strange evening.

Anyway, no problem.  I contacted my vet and had them send the info to them for the prescription.  Piece of cake.  They contacted me back and explained that they would not be able to fill this for She Devil until she had established a relationship with the vet.  What?  I inquired as to whether this involved dinner and drinks, as she was not that kind of kitty!  No, no she explained.  Texas law demands that the vet see the animal before prescribing any meds.

She further assured me that there would be no expense for this consultation.  Whoop de doo.  I assured her they really did not want to meet this cat - she is well known back home for her stunning personality.  She checked with the vet to see if we could bypass this - nope.  Then I was informed that one way around this was to have my vet call in the prescription to any Walgreen's.  I stressed again that this was a special insulin for cats and not humans.  Not a problem she assured me, they do this all the time.

So another message was sent to the vets back home to fax it to the Walgreen's store.  Now, keep in mind that I'm still not familiar with this town and get my east and west mixed up.

After a lovely outing with Left Brain the next day, we stopped by the Walgreen's to pick up the meds.  Finally!  Whoops.  Wrong one.  The one I called it into was way across town - further away from our RV park.  So, off we go....again.  I sauntered up to the pharmacy desk after again waiting my turn in line and find that yes, they did receive that.  And no, it's not in their system, so they can't order it.  Let's just say Left Brain was less than thrilled at this.

So I was resigned to calling the Furry Friends again to set up a "date" to establish a relationship with this vet.  This was fine - the appointment was made for 2:00 the next day.

The next day we packed up She Devil and the three of us traveled to the vet's office.  She Devil looked concerned and very suspicious.  We'd never taken her for a tour of the highlights of Harlingen before, why now?  As we pulled up she relaxed and I couldn't figure out why, except that the building did look like a motel.  Ahhh.  She was looking forward to a night of room service and hanging out again.  Nope.  There was a small dog in the lobby whose owner seemed very concerned about having a cat coming in.  Riding on my shoulder with no harness or cage.  "He doesn't like cats" she explained nervously as she tightened her grip on the leash.  "It's okay" I replied. "I've got a good grip on her, I think your dog is safe."  That seemed to confuse her and she scrambled out the side door...and her little dog, too.

Finally, the infamous, bad ass cat they had heard about had shown up for the appointment.  We went right to the scales where she weighed in at 14.6 pounds and into the exam room.  Then the lady came back in and explained that the vet was in surgery much longer than expected and we could either leave the cat with them  or come back tomorrow.  

There was no way I was going to leave my precious in a strange vet office, even if there wasn't a persistent whining from the small dog they were boarding in the other room.  No way, Jose.  This was no way to start "a relationship"...with a broken date!  I suggested that since the dog in the other room  was knocked out anyway, couldn't I just waltz her into the room so he could verify that she really did exist and they could just order the meds.  Nope.  He has to do a hands on exam.  First he wants a "relationship" and now he's opening admitting he's going to fondling my little darling.  How indelicate!

The good news was that they offered to at least order the meds so I could bring her in for her exam and pick up the drugs.  That was what I thought anyway.  So, I agreed to wait for their call in the morning to reschedule her date and bring her in again.  As we left the receptionist took hold of both sides of She Devil's head and gave her a big kiss....and lived to tell about it.  I was stunned.  Was this the cat whisperer?  I was telling Left Brain about it when she came out to the car with one more question about paying for the drugs and gave her another kiss through the window.  Neither of us could speak.  And we had warned them about her aggressive, attacking nature.  Way to to go She Devil, make me look like a lunatic in from of the Furry Friends! So, we trundled off back home and She Devil was able to dodge the bullet.

The next day they called and set up the appointment for 2:00.  Left Brain was out golfing, so I headed out for Walmart to do my shopping and had lunch with my Kindle at Panda Express.  Love their firecracker chicken.  Then I stopped at HEB for the perishables before returning home.  When I arrived to put away the groceries Left Brain had returned and could go with me.  This is nice, another family outing.

So, we packed up She Devil once more for her blind date and trekked back to the clinic.  This time she had her temperature taken - always a mood setter for her.  Then we waited for the infamous DR to enter the room.  He sauntered in, introducing himself and shaking hands with us and proceeded to examine She Devil.  He managed to do the palpation and dental exam - easy to do with the hissing going on.

He proceeded to ask questions about her history and advised us on different drugs that might work and then smugly announced that he wouldn't be making any changes to her care at this time.  As much as I wanted to knock him off his pedestal, I didn't have the drugs yet, so I played nice and went along.  I had no intention of changing one damn thing from what the vets that have known her all her life had set up.  He kept reminding me that this order was for a "controlled substance" and made me feel like I was doing something shady, like a drug hand off in the back alley.

Then he told us the "controlled substance" would be ordered and should arrive tomorrow afternoon.  If there is a delay, it might come in on Saturday.  They were closed on Saturday, but I could pick it up at the Pets & Paws Spa next door.  So much for cloak and dagger with these hard to get drugs.  He'll just leave them in the fridge of the doggy spa with the shampoo and herbal treatments.  Yikes.

I will be so happy when I have the drugs in my hot little hands for the return trip and never have to visit him again.  Then as we're leaving he comes back to the front counter with a gorgeous ginger and white cat who's nuzzling him and acting all lovely dovey.  Was this to show me what a real cat should act like? Or was that "date" drugged up and inordinately submissive.  I summed him up as a smug arrogant jerk with no personality what so ever and I will do every thing in my power to make sure She Devil never has a "relationship" with him.  Even Left Brain said he gave him the creeps.

Long Live the Queen of "Relationships"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A solution is found

I'm practicing adding text to some of my recent zoo photos.
The only area that has caused us problems in the canned ham is the sitting area.  For one person to be able to sit down, the table must be slid towards the other to allow enough of a passageway to enter.  Of course, if I could drop another 20 pounds, this would be easier.

The second part of this problem is that when doing this repeatedly, the back side of the table tends to collapse and then the cat slides off.  It's kind of funny in a sick way, but she is not amused and therefore, this must not be tolerated.  It's all about the cat.

Then there's the lack of space to put anything without it creating a jumbled up pile of crap that is, well...unsightly to say the least.

So!  We found four wood shelves and assembled them to make a platform on the back bench seat...which is unusable anyway as no one could get into that spot with the exception of a "little person".

Then Left Brain removed the weak set of legs and now the table sets on the wood platform and is easily slid back and forth and now backwards.  This makes getting in and out much easier.  It also creates a lovely resting area for She Devil.  It's all about the cat.

Two white plastic drawers provide the additional storage for all those extra cords, electronic devices, and misc junk.  The white is a bit glaring, but I do believe I have a smaller black set of drawers at home I can swap out that will look more attractive.

Now at night we can slide the table way to one side and I can actually join LB on his side to watch TV.  Up til now it has been more like listening to a radio show since I had no view of the TV from my position.

It's working much better now and we're all happy.  Especially the cat.

Long Love the Queen of Creativity

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

She's a happy cat

She Devil seems to thrive on all the attention she gets when we are camping.  

She gets brushed more and doted on constantly.

Snuggling with Left Brain is nothing new, but it is an activity  both seem to enjoy

She has even been playful lately and attacking her yellow banana and fuzzy thing auntie Lois made for her.  

I have not seen her play for a long, long time so this was very pleasing.

On the warmer days she enjoys laying out in the dirt under the canned ham and watching all the dogs parading by.

For special treats we allow the faucet to drip slowly so she can lap it up as she seems to miss her fountain at home.  

It's all about the cat.

Long Live the Queen of Cat Care

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Texas Flea Markets

We finally got to the big Flea Market on Saturday - yikes!

You can buy just about anything there.  The outer areas are people just setting up out of their trucks and vans, with merchandise spread out on the hoods of cars, on tables or just dumped on tarps on the ground.  Presentation is SO important!

I found some lead sinkers and snatched them up.  Left Brain informed me they are illegal for fishing, what would I do with them. Well, duh!  They are perfect weight in the butts of my dolls, of course.  Since these are not a child's toy, they are perfect for this.

One of the things that bothered me the most was seeing lots of parakeets and other small birds crammed into cages for sale.  I'm hoping their digs "back home" are a bit more spacious and comfortable...but I have my doubts.  There was a small dog in a cage not much bigger than he was and he looked terrified.  These things bother me a great deal, animal lover that I am.

So, we packed up our produce that we purchased and headed on home.  I think going there once was enough - it was pretty dismal and dirty looking, but an experience.

Long Live the Queen of the Market

Monday, January 16, 2012

The first "words"

I guess it is inevitable when you have two people who are hyper and want to be in charge  crammed into a small canned ham.  There's going to be "words".  And tears.

There were storm warnings out, but for the weather...I should have seen that as a sign.  It's cold, windy, gloomy...crowded.

So we headed out to find a solution to our "we can't maneuver around the table" dilemma.   It was in the Target parking lot that Left Brain asked what was wrong and I answered very quickly the standard response...NOTHING.  Then burst into tears.

There was a lovely post on Facebook the other day that says it all.  The speed with which a woman replies "nothing" when asked what is wrong is inversely proportionate to the size of the storm approaching.

But, as always, we talked it out and agreed to try to meet each other half way and work harder at being considerate.  Then we bought the shelves needed for our project, got some lunch and went back home a happily married couple.

Long Live the Queen of Changing Weather

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Our visit to the monument to Iwo Jima

We toured the museum and monument to Iwo Jima the other day.

It was about a one mile walk and a beautiful warm day, so off we trucked along back roads and drainage ditches.  Left Brain does love his "short cuts".  I kept one eye out for scorpions and snakes all the way.

This is the actual monument - the one in Washington DC is a bronze copy made over this one.  It fits that there would be two monuments, since there were two flags.  The first one was apparently pretty insignificant and the boats had a hard time seeing it, so a larger one was put up.  That's the one that got the press and made famous.  Of course when I saw this huge flag flying I thought there was a Perkins nearby...but that's just me.

The museum had a lot of memorabilia and a short video about the war and the importance of taking Iwo Jima.  In one of the newspaper articles it mentioned that it would have been impossible to every have succeeded without the Navajo Code Talkers.  I wish the video had at least mentioned them briefly...even once.  

Is it just me or does this poster look like Colonel Sanders?  Or maybe the patriarch from Southfork on the old show, Dallas.

Of course the high light of the trip for Left Brain were the planes that have been rescued and restored and are able to fly.

Those propellers are made of wood due to the shortage of metal available during the war.

My highlight was the women's bathroom.  I pondered the sign attached to the toilet paper.  I mean if it said to use just toilet paper in the toilet, that would make some sense.  But to only use toilet paper in the toilet?  Where did they think I was going to use this?

Then there was the attempt at beautification by placing this dainty little plant on top of a wobbly table covered in some sort of dreadful plastic. 

There were more objects d'art in there, but too many to capture.

All in all it was a nice monument to visit and it is a good reminder never to forget those who have died so we may have the freedom we enjoy.

But, as with any war.  It just seems such a waste of lives and is so sad.

Long Live the Queen 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

You can't buy shorts in Texas

Yeah, yeah...I know.  If you're going to Texas for two months you should pack some shorts.  But!  My old shorts don't fit me, they are too big so I had taken them to Goodwill already.  I only had two pair and this was not going to be enough for the stay.

No problemo I figure, I'll just buy some when I get there.  Nay nay!  You can't buy shorts in Texas in January.  This is their "winter" season and only long pants and winter clothes are available.  Huh?  It's 80 degrees!  And this is not a freakishly hot day, it's normally in the 70's and 80's here.  That announcement was not to anger my northern friends....but I have to say, it did feel good to write that.

Any way, back to my problem.  You'd think they would consider that most of their population here in the winter is over 60 (and that's putting it kindly), they might make some concessions.  But then again, maybe the other snow birds are better packers than I am.

I finally found some dance wear shorts that were long enough to look decent on a "woman of age".  Some of the shorts I saw were so short I imagine the girls have to have a Brazilian wax to be able to wear them.  They did not look comfortable either.

At least I have two more pairs of shorts now to get me through the "winter" down here.

Long Live the Queen of Short Shorts

Friday, January 13, 2012

And they call the wind....annoying

Did I mention before how stinking windy it is here?  Holy cow!

The land is flat and there's not much to block the wind, as is shown by this photo I took on one of our walks.  There's just open land as far as you can see.

After listening to the gusts hitting our camper and cabana all night, I was afraid to look out.  I really figured the cabana would be in shreds. Amazingly it held.  Parts of it unzipped and some of the window flaps were flying, but it was still standing.  Amazing.

I worried that if it came unstaked it would create a parachute effect and the canned ham would be lifted into the sky and heading for Oz.

Since he wasn't able to go golfing today, we visited the RV show nearby and drooled over big fancy rigs that we'll never own.  Then we returned to our only little rig that's paid for and settled in for some computer work.

I believe some of the neighbors were attaching weights to their little dogs when they let them outside to use the facilities.  She Devil insisted on going outside for a while to lay in the dirt in the sunshine and have the breeze blow in her face.  She was a mess when she came in and needed copious amounts of brushing.

I guess it's why they call this place "Tropic Winds".

Long Live the Queen of Breaking Wind
Oh wait...that's Left Brain

Thursday, January 12, 2012

War Horse

I attempted joining the regular group this morning for line dancing and was humbled.  I have a lot to learn and need a lot of practice.  But it's still fun and good exercise.  I've learned to bring along a change of clothes, swimsuit and towel to head right for the showers and hot tub after class is done.

It is constantly windy here.  We gave up on the screen house and took it down, it was just getting destroyed from being battered around.  I think if we had one with a sewn in floor if might have worked better as that would have added some stability.  I might try another one...who knows.

It was so cold today that I needed to dig out my sweatshirt again.  We decided this would be a good day to check out the other movie theater and go see War Horse.  This theater is going to make it hard to come back home again - absolutely beautiful with huge screens and surround sound.  The movie was dynamic...bring tissues.  This is bound to get some awards this year.

I thought about checking out the tennis courts - you really wouldn't need a partner at all.  Just hit the ball into the wind and let it blow it back in your face.

Left Brain is fixing some BBQ chicken for supper and we feasted on lots of fresh veggies in our cabana.  Life is good.

Long Live the Queen of the Wind

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

We found the source of the jack rabbits

While cruising through Brownsville we came across a shop that said bolt and screw.  It didn't have much meaning until later in the day when we passed by again and could see the results of this advertising.

Long Live the Queen of Spay and Neuter!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

These jack rabbits are getting out of control!

Maybe it's just my imagination, but they seem to be growing each day.  Here's a shot as I was coming back to the campground.

As you can see, She Devil was doing her best to hold them off until I returned.  Left Brain must have been napping for them to get so close to the camper.

Here's a shot to show you what the camper looks like when they are gone.  

As you can see, even with our little migrant tent village we're much smaller than the behemoth trailers nearby.

Long Live the Queen of Jack Rabbits

Monday, January 9, 2012

Line Dancing - fun and a great workout

I decided to check out the line dance class for beginners today.  Partly because I had to do laundry anyway, I needed the exercise and to avoid the football on TV.

First I got the laundry started.  I learned from our trips to Florida to carry large amounts of quarters...not needed here.  You purchase a laundry credit card and can insert money in the machine to add funds to it.  The card is inserted into the washer and dryer.  Pretty slick.

There was a nice lady who showed me how to do it and even put my laundry into the dryer for me while I was at my line dancing class.  I was hoping for them to be folded and delivered to my site, but that was a bit too much I guess.

Line dancing is a blast.  Simple dance moves that take you four different directions as a group.  Occasionally you find yourself facing the person next to you, which results in much laughter.  This is a very basic class for beginners only.  Now I'm wanting to go check out the other line dance sessions to watch and learn more - perhaps to lurk about in the back and try to follow along.  

A couple of hours were spent deleting photos and old files again. I try to do this a little bit each day to make some space on the hard drive.

Left Brain has a play date in the morning with some of the men here to go golfing.  So, I have a completely free day to do what ever I want - wooo hooo.  It's hard to picture what I want to do first!

Next we need to start checking out some of the bird sanctuaries and wildlife areas.  Maybe I'll try to find one of those tomorrow - just me and my camera.

Long Live the Queen of Line Dancing

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Downtown market day

Left Brain took the car to get washed, so I removed everything in preparation for the cleaning and reorganized a bit.  Found all the missing articles.  Then we found a Best Buys where I was able to exchange the battery for my Canon Rebel T3i.  It is now charged and ready to roll.  Things are definitely looking up!

We had poked around an indoor flea market the other day and managed our way through all the Spanish.  Left Brain got a Green Bay Packers hat and I went home empty handed.  The best part was when we left and he pushed on the door to exit.  It said PULL.  In English.  Then he got to the next one and pulled on the door.  It said PUSH.  In English.  

Apparently he's acclimated very nicely to the area and is forgetting his English skills.  I'm still trying to find NCIS in Spanish on TV while I'm here.  

I'm starting to get my bearings finally.  Today we found the Weight Watcher meeting and thankfully I was only up .4 of a pound.  Whew. They seem like a very friendly bunch and next time I will stay for the meeting and then run over to the synagogue that's about three blocks away.  Sure was nice of them to group everything for me.

But today we headed for the Downtown Market that is held on the first Saturday of each month.  First we stopped at the Twins Cafe for breakfast.  Definitely where the locals eat but the waitress was able to explain most of the menu choices to me.  I had four delightful tacos with beef, cilantro, onion and salsa verde.  Yum.  A bit painful on the lips and tongue but with two cans of diet coke by my side all was well.  

Then we walked over to the market and perused the local offerings. You could find just about anything you might want and lots of stuff you don't.  My purchases were kohlrabi for $1 each that we are looking forward to slicing up tonight.  Thank you Larry Boy for introducing us to this vegetable.

No Marti, they don't have flowers yet.  This is a photo from the internet.
Then I found some bird of paradise to bring home for $5 each.  She had some lovely ones for $15 that were taller than me, but Left Brain reminded me that we will have to haul them into motels every night on the way back.  That made the little ones look much more appealing.  Such a deal.  I may have to find one more, my theory being that it's just as easy to haul in four as it is three.

Long Live the Queen of Mexican Markets

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My brain is melting....

Well, after digging through the car more I finally did find my missing toilet kit.  And after more digging the passport surfaced, so I'm still intact.  For the moment anyway.

I went to charge up the backup battery and found it is the wrong size. Rats, now I need to find a Best Buys and see if I can replace it.  In another state.  With no receipt, of course.

I ran off to photo the canned ham among all the larger rigs and realized I had the wrong lens on.  I could have taken it with the macro I suppose, but I walked back to get the proper lens and tried it again.  Geeez.

Then last night I attempted to get a photo of the beautiful red night sky and when I got in position I didn't have any battery in it because I decided I'd better recharge the one I have.

Once the battery was in place and I hustled over to the fence again I realized that the memory card was missing since I was going to be downloading photos later on that night.  Yikes!

By the time everything was assembled the sky had changed and the shot was gone.

Left Brain is going to gut the van today and take it to a car wash for a good cleaning inside and out.  Then I will reload it in a precise and meaningful way so everything can be accessed better.  I'll get the hang of this yet!

Long Live the Disgruntled Queen

Friday, January 6, 2012

South Padre Island

Holy moly, Left Brain! 

Are we in Florida or Texas?

We drove around to get familiar with our winter surroundings and fell in love with the South Padre Islands.

Of course, being a blue sky and sunny day, everything looks good right now.

We couldn't resist driving around on the beach and saw many people camping there.

For a four dollar day fee you can drive your rig out on the beach and set up camp for as long as you want.  Of course, there are no amenities except for sand, ocean and sky...but that's enough for us.  For a little while anyway.

Hey!  There's even free food on the beach.  Just think how lovely this washed up jellyfish might be with a few onions and some garlic.  Yum!

Yup.  Camping with us is a bit like traveling with the Clampett's.

We did opt to have a lovely lunch at Pier 19 and pass on the jellyfish.  I had some shrimp in a mango sauce/salsa that was to die for.

Colleen, you must teach me how to make your mango salsa.

Pete had shrimp flautas with the shrimp rolled up in cream cheese and apple smoked bacon inside the tortilla.  

I gave him my refried beans in trade for his hush puppies.

They had this large shark that was caught in 2004.

I can't even begin to imagine what kind of line and hook was used to land this bad boy.

It was a great day and we returned to She Devil to fix our steaks for supper.

Live is good here in Texas.  I need to find my Weight Watcher group on Saturday and see how much damage I've been doing so far.

Long Live the Queen of Contentedness 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thursday - January 5, 2012

We were cruising around again to learn our way and stopped at a tacquerita for lunch.  This was authentic Mexican food and I made the mistake of dumping on the salsa like I do at Taco Johns.  FIRE!

Left Brain spotted the perfect plastic drawers to bring some order to the chaos by the table.  I spent some time arranging and cleaning our little love nest and then luxuriated in the shoilet with a nice shower and then some shorts and a t-shirt.  My goodness these legs are a pasty white color!  I'd better keep moving or people will think I'm dead.

The jack rabbits were hanging out near our neck of the woods yesterday, so I tried to get some photos with the big lens.  They look like little kangaroos to me.  
The yard is so scruffy I decided to give him a nicer surrounding.

No armadillos to be seen yet.

Long Live the Queen of Jack Rabbits

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday - January 4, 2012

Left Brain did something totally new last night - he took a midnight shower.  I don't think he planned this late night cleaning, at least the yelp he let out indicated it was not on his agenda.

Apparently he turned to flush the shoilet and bumped the handles to the shower in the process.  That must have been a nasty shock!  Almost as nasty as when I forgot about it and went into use the facilities and stepped into a puddle and then sat on a wet toilet seat.  Yuck.  We really must find a way to work around this issue.

finally found the synagogue for Shabbat
We explored Harlingen a bit to learn our way around and found a golf course.  Of course, that meant we had to hit a bucket of balls.  It affirmed that my skills are just as bad as they were in Wisconsin.  I don't mind tearing up the turf here as much, you really can't notice.

Long Live the Queen of the Duffers

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tuesday - January 3, 2012

There we go.  I know the day of the week, what the correct date is and the proper year.  Things are looking up.

Right before leaving on our excursion I found this cool wire rack thing at TJ Max while shopping with Miss M.  I think it's for folders possibly, but the racks are wider than some others and I thought it might work out well for additional storage.

As you can see in the photo it works very well.  I put it over the door to the shoilet and it holds likes of small loose items - coffee for the keurig, snacks, kitty treats, all the good stuff.

Anything that helps to store stuff, especially the smaller things is helpful. Now I will look for a plastic tote with a drawer in it to put at the end of the table so we can store our electronic crap and misc stuff in it.  It will also create a nice spot for She Devil to lay on so we can use of the table.

Long Live the Queen of Organization

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2, 2012 again

Okay, I had the wrong date before.  How could I mix that up?  It's not that hard, really.  I also seemed to have lost my toilet kit somewhere.  I called the last motel we stayed at and the young man couldn't find it and advised me to call again tomorrow morning.  I feel I am losing my mind lately.

Anyway, I digress.  The rabbits are huge here.

I need to add the teleconverter to it and try again tomorrow to see if I can get a closer shot.  The ears are so long!

I stopped at the vegetable truck that comes on Mondays to see what that was like.  They cut and core the pineapple right on the spot with this cool little gizmo.

We haven't tried it yet, but it looks wonderful.  I sure smelled good.

The crowd just surrounds this truck and everyone brings their own little bags.  I have so much to learn!

Next Monday we'll try the watermelon.

So, now I know what day it is again.  That's a good start!

Long Live the Confused Queen

This lady is so lucky - she has a whole herd (flock?) of them.