Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eating crow

I love crows. I think they are just the coolest bird alive, but I wasn't sure how they  might taste. 

I've found that crow isn't too bad if you prepare it properly.  And since I'm used to have my foot in my mouth, my tastes have been altered.

As you will recall in a previous blog post my pride in being able to say no to purchasing yet another "thing" that wasn't needed.

Well, after that post I learned that may of the photographers I admire use that 18-270 mm lens as their "go to lens".  Hmmm.  Now I needed to rethink this choice.

Many of my friends have admitted they also have the 70 -300 lens but seldom ever use it anymore.

Hmmm.  It would be nice to have ONE lens that covered most of my needs.

So, I returned humbly to the store and now own this lens.

I guess my resolve wasn't as strong as I thought and I now have one more "thing" added to my stash.'s small and lightweight and at a great price.

Does anyone need a canon 70-300 IS lens?  I'm looking to sell one!

There....I've now had my daily required portion of crow.

Long Live the Queen of Caw Caw Caw

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The mowers of Ham Lake Campground

There's an abundance of wildlife here at the campground, some wilder than others.  We have a horse, a llama, two emu's, several chickens, peacocks and various goats.

Some of the goats stay inside the fence while others choose to squeeze through the fence and wander about the grounds.

They do provide a fabulous job of mowing in some of the harder to reach spots and are just....well, they're just so cute.

We've been in campgrounds out west where the elk wander the campgrounds, as well as bison. 

These guys are smaller in stature but just as me anyway.

Goats have such interesting faces and I love the way they settle their disputes....with head butting. 

They remind me of my granddaughters when they get going at it.

So there you have the lawn maintenance crew here at the campgrounds.  Where else can you find something that will mow, weed whack those tough spots AND fertilize all at the same time?

It's not baaaaaaaaad work if you can get it.

Speaking of old goats....I have to go get Left Brain's supper ready.

Long Live the Queen

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fifty Shades of Left Brain

Yeah, we were both curious about the new triology "Fifty Shades of Gray" and are reading it on our Kindle.  It actually has a nice story line to it and isn't just pure smut as I feared it would be.

Apparently this has caused some reactions in both of us as we set a first this morning. We screwed in the shower.

Now before you get all concerned, let me back up a bit.

Left Brain loves to kill mosquitos, often leaving their bloody little carcasses stuck to the wall, ceiling, whatever as a show of his prowess.  Kind of like a cat leaving the dead mouse just to show off its skills.

But apparently he got a bit carried away tracking his prey in the shower a while back as he cracked the cover for the sky dome over the shower...he did get the mosquito by the way.  So he ordered a new dome cover, which arrived recently to the tune of a little over $100.  I wonder what they equates to per pound for the mosquito that was killed?

It's an awkward situation to stand in the shower, hold the cover overhead and manipulate the screws into he called for assistance.  There's no easy way to do this without both of us standing in the shower with our arms over head.  I put one screw in and he did the rest of them.

He smiled and said "now you can put in your blog that we were in the shower together".  I laughed and warned him that it would be much better than just that! 

So now you know the complete story.  What were you expecting?
Oh you perverts!

Long Live the Queen of Good Clean Fun

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Soccer mania

Kiersten taking control of the ball
One of the best things about our new mobile lifestyle is being able to spend the summer near the grandkids and watch them as they pursue their athletic interests.
a determined team mate
Kiersten (the nine year old) is in soccer, a game I don't know a lot about, but would have loved to played this as a child.  Being a hyper-active kid all this running and chasing a ball and kicking would have been so good for me.  But in those days girls were not allowed to do anything too strenuous for fear of "hurting" ourselves.  I think the real fear was that we'd do better than the boys.

It was great fun observing the game and the gritty determination in these young girls as they battled it out in the heat of the day.  Even though faces were flushed with heat and exhaustion they kept up the hustle up and down the field.

Ready to kick the ball back into play
Kiersten isn't exactly a burly, heavy girl like the other team's goalie, but there's a lot to be said for quickness and being tough.  I know I have trouble getting anything past her, it shouldn't surprise me that she'd be an excellent goalie.

Photographing sports was never a goal for me, but I have to admit I rather enjoyed the process and the challenge of quickly focusing and trying to follow the action.

Some of the shots were great stop action but I added some motion blur and radial blur to increase the drama that I sensed during the play.

One of my favorite shots here are the feet of two players struggling for position.

Who knows?  Perhaps a whole new photography interest will open up for me?

Long Live the Queen of Sports Photography

Monday, June 25, 2012

Reflections on other tin homes I've lived in

It's interesting to reflect on ones life journey and how far we've come... or not.

My early adult life began in a metal trailer, a very small one, with my first husband.

In this trailer were the standard funishings: double bed, table and bench seats, tiny kitchen and gas heater.  Our refrigerator sat outside the front door as there was no space for it inside. In the winter I put the lunch meat inbetween the windows to keep it cold and easy to access.

There was also a non functioning bathroom where we stored stuff.  We shared this space with two lab-shepherd cross dogs, two cats and two turtles.  Oh, did I mention there was no plumbing or running water? 

When I was a small child, gypsies would camp behind my fathers gas station and I wanted so badly to be one of those children our mothers warned us about. One of the lucky chosen few that were kidnapped and lived their lives on the road with the gypsies. It sounded so much more glamorous and exciting that the life I the move!

After I left the first husband I moved in with my cousin, Bonnie, who lived in a mobile home but with running water and all the comforts.  After leaving her domicile I've lived in apartments, stick built houses and yet another mobile home.
I guess I've always had a love affair with houses on wheels.

Our first little camper
After my marriage to Left Brain we did a lot of camping and went through the normal progression of tents, pop-up campers, a 21 foot class C mini-motorhome and then a 35' mobile home. 

Left Brain would have liked to have full timed when he retired, but the circumstances weren't right for me yet and being the patient man he is... he waited.

Yes, the clock shows 5:30 AM

Since he was driving "part-time" (and I say that tongue in cheek) for Ready Bus, we never utilized the motorhome and sold it.  We continued living in our ranch house near the woods for another ten years. 

Wanting to revisit the "camping" experience and get away from the snow and cold for a month or two, we started our journey over again with our little canned ham, and as my long term readers have found out we loved it so much we decided to finally live full time in an RV...just needed one a bit bigger.

And thus I started my sixties by returning to my early roots of living in a canned ham of sorts...although a much larger and more luxurious one this time.  So, it appears I may be ending my journey the same way I started on wheels.

Long Life the Queen of the Road

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Revamping old habits

this is was with the old camera and lens
While visiting National Camera in Minneapolis I found a Tamron lens that had 18 - 270 mm.  Hmmm.  It was also shorter and heavier than my existing 70 - 300 mm lens.  Both have Image Stabilization (IS).  What can I say?  I wanted this lens!  I need this lens!

Then I found out that the lens was normally $600 but there was a $100 rebate if done before June 30th AND there is a $50 trade in on any lens you bring in.  Add to that another $25 discount for having attended their workshop recently.  I didn't actually attend this, but the nice man gave me the paper work anyway. 

Needless to say my head was swimming with possibilities and dreams of going back in on Monday to make the deal!

sometimes you just need to take the time to chew it over slowly
However, today I took a calmer approach to the issue.  First, I sorted out my camera gear and put the second camera body and it's components into a box for storage.  Then I arranged my group of lenses in a smaller compartment for storage and eliminated the need for a huge, oversized camera bag.

The old me would have jumped at this deal and spent a few hundred dollars on new equipment in the belief that if I owned this lens I would be a fabulous photographer. 

The new me said "nay nay" as I fully realize having the equipment doesn't change anything.  And truth be told, I'm not fully utilizing what I have right now. 

Plus I've experienced difficulty finding the time to explore the software I've purchased and haven't fully learned the current camera I own.

So, I smiled and tossed the flyer and papers into the trash knowing I have exactly what I need and it's already paid for.   I no longer have to keep running after the "stuff" that will make me who I am....I'm already there.

Long Live the Older and Much Wiser Queen

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Quick visit back "home"

It's hard to decide what to call "home" anymore as where ever we are we're always home now.  But the La Crosse area will always be "home" to me in a special way.

Early Thursday morning I crept past the sleeping grandchild on our couch and departed for a medical appointment back in La Crosse.  It was time to decide which mask I wanted to keep and which to return.  That was an easy choice - I love the nose pillow mask much better as I can flip around and sleep on my stomach and side.  I can't decide if I feel more like a circus horse with a halter and feather plume on my forehead or a scuba diver.

After the appointment I picked up Miss M and we headed off to Manny's for lunch.  This was followed by visiting our favorite places...Barnes & Noble and TJ Max.  At Barnes& Noble I purchased a book on Lightroom 4 so I can begin to understand the software that is residing on my computer and maybe actually start to USE it.  It's a large book and if nothing else could be used to level the RV at some point if it fails at being instructional.  I know there's many wonderful You Tube tutorials out there, but with iffy internet it feeds so slowly it's torture to watch even the briefest video.  We hope to get the Satelittle hooked up this fall after learning more at the Escapades Rally.

While at TJ's Miss M was waving around this green thing and commenting on what kind of moron would actually use such a thing.  It was a pancake pen and is so COOL!  It even has measurement markings on it to mix the pancake batter inside and shake it up.  Then you squirt it out a small hole on the top.  You can make nice little pancakes without slopping batter all over the place and even make letters and numbers.  Oh the fun we will have!  And it's lightweight and small....met all the requirements for belonging in our RV. 

Then we had a lively debate over the little purses, as I wanted to find something a little nicer for going out and brightly colored so I wouldn't lose it.  But being cheap I refuse to pay much money for such a thing, I believe in putting money into my purse, not into buying the purse.  I suppose the margaritas we had a lunch may have been part of the influence on how we were shopping.  Anyway....suffice it to say I left with a hot pink leopard print purse with tassels.  It's so NOT me but I do love it in a strange way.

After our purchases were completed, we went back to the house and relaxed for a bit - I got to take a hot tub bath, something I love and have missed.  And then it was off for our garden club meeting at Ciatti's.  Hmmm...most of my social life seems to revolve around food.  We had a lovely meeting where I am secretary for the group...not sure how that's going to work when I leave the area.  Our emphasis seems to be more on visiting gardens, attending plays and performances and dining than actually gardening.  Some of the members still actually do have some gardens, but it's getting fewer and fewer.  At the end of the meeting two more members announced their resignation due to lack of time and other commitments.  The group is down to five now, including me who won't be there much.

I was fearful of how I might sleep in a strange bed and using my new cpap which I'm still adjusting to.  So, I read my Kindle for a while to wind down and figured I'd try to get to sleep for an hour or so and then go take an ambien to assist me.  Not necessary, I zonked right out and didn't wake until 8:30.  I do recall getting up once to use the bathroom since I walked into the wall on my way out of the room, but otherwise slept soundly.  The bed was firm and comfortable, the sheets soft, the comforter like a cloud, the room was dark and cool.....ah.  It was like being in a luxury hotel.

We visited a bit in the morning and my friend totally understands my need for alone time and sent me off on my day of picking up meds for She Devil and enjoying loaded baked potato soup at Pickermans while reading my Kindle.  I made of point of letting the owner know I drove almost four hours to get this soup.  I've always loved this reading and dining part of my life and this trip was extra special to me as I took in all the details around me, savoring them until the next time I might be able to enjoy this again.  It is the simple things that make up the most enjoyable aspects of ones life.

I stopped on the way home to pick up a couple of bag chairs at Gander Mountain as we seem to be at a lot of soccer and softball games lately.  It felt good to get back in the afternoon and enjoy a quiet sunset with Left Brain and catch up.

As much as I love going places and seeing people, my favorite times are just sitting next to the RV with She Devil and Left Brain and talking or reading.  It's the quiet time I savor the most.

Long Live the Queen of Quiet Living

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How can life be this busy?

We're retired folk with nothing but time on our why don't we have enough of it? 

After parting with my art work, yard work and Left Brain's bus  driving you'd think we'd be bored out of our minds sitting here in the shade.  

I've missed blogging for a couple of days because it seems there's always something to do or somewhere to go!

First of all let me catch up with a couple of photos I took around the campground.  The photo above of the dragonfly is one of my favorites.  Since I'm not real steady hand holding it wasn't terribly sharp so I applied a dry brush filter to it, one of my favorites. 

Then I added a couple of different textures to it, one being a photo of peeling barn wood I took a long time ago and finished it off by putting it into the puzzle frame.  I like the effect if I don't say so myself.  This is what I'm hoping to do more of in the future.

This photo is of an emu at our campground (behind a fence, thank goodness...these birds are HUGE) and I added a frame and text to him.

His face was situated nicely in the center of the large fence which allowed for cloning it out easily. 

I wasn't about to stick my camera through there!

They give the term "Big Bird" a whole new meaning and with their unruly hair and penetrating eyes are a bit too scary looking for Sesame Street.

Monday was rainy so Left Brain and I took off to Camping World for some shopping fun and then I left for the laundry mat and groceries.  It's a job I prefer to do alone as it's restful to me in some strange way.

By the time I got back I had barely enough time to set up the drying rack for the shirts that weren't quite dry and to get ready to go to our youngest granddaughter'a soccer game. 

Unfortunately my camera battery died and I didn't have the spare with me.  I guess it really doesn't help to have an extra battery back at the RV.  Sigh.  She was so cute in her little soccer outfit but when the ball comes towards her that sweet little freckled face with her sunny smile is gone and there's a very determined young woman guarding the goal.

After the game we celebrated with a trip to Cherry Berry for frozen yogurt.  You get three little cups to test taste from the self service area and then fill up your cup with your choices of frozen yogurt and toppings where they weigh the purchase and charge you.

But today should be a quieter day and tonight we go to the oldest granddaughter's soft ball game.  I will have TWO fully charged batteries with me this time and won't let that happen again.

Long Live the Queen of Busy

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Our first couple of days at the new place

We are all settled in and as you can see, She Devil is enjoying her recent copy of Cat Fancy.

Her eyes are bad so she has to get really close, but she enjoys sprawling out on the dashboard and catching up with her reading.

We finished setting up on Friday morning, getting the scooter off the car, chairs set up, plants out of the bathtub and the awning out.  The scenery is much nicer here, with heavy woods behind us. The surrounding area is soft dirt and there's a healthy supply of mosquitos.  Putting the outdoor patio carpet down will help with that and I picked up a mosquito lantern for when we sit outside.

We had our first visitors that afternnoon when the family arrived with Ted's father-in-law to check out our new digs.  We went for a walk and checked out the petting zoo area.  They have a llama, several goats, two emus and some chickens.  One of the baby goats was rejected by its mother and has free run of the place.  His name is Cookies and Cream and when I get photos posted you'll see the name fits quite nicely.  He lives on the deck and has a pet carrier to sleep in and has no qualms about jumping up onto the table to share your food or drink.

The menfolk were down on the dock to show the girls the fine art of casting....otherwise known as drowning worms.  My daughter lost her necklace as it fell from her neck and slipped between the crack in the pier.  But three gallant young men came to our rescue (ages roughly seven or eight) and retrieved it for her.

The swimming area is quite shallow and has a swingset placed right in the water.  Very refreshing on a hot summer day.  There are a couple of nice ponds in addition to the lake with lots of water lilies and Canada geese and their young uns.  We were told by another resident of the campground that there is a large snapping turtle that likes to come down the lane we are camped on...that will be an interesting sight.  So, there shouldn't be any lack of photo opportunties during our stay here.

Later that afternnoon we headed en mass (all twelve of us) to the Twins vs Brewers game downtown.  It is a beautiful stadium tucked into the downtown buildings and the weather was perfect, with a soft breeze.  The downtown skyline was visible over the top of the stadium and it was a joy to watch the changing colors as night progressed.

The sad thing was that it seemed very few  were actually watching the ballgame.  Why anyone would be busy with their electronic devices with all this going on, I have no clue.  The focus seemed to be more on eating, drinking, playing electronic games, texting and googling. 

The infield hasspectacular lights and images to hold your attention.  So much so that it was hard to find the score of the game.  Big electronic screens with the photos and information of each player and recaps of some of the more memorable plays. Fireworks go off the top of the major display when the Twins hit a home run. What does this say about the shortening of the younger generation's attention span?

It's hard to me to focus also...SQUIRREL! but I found it hard to take my eyes off the players and seeing the events unfold live right in front of me.  At $35 a ticket it just seems a waste to not actually...I don't know.... watch the game.  I've noticed this at movies also recently, in spite of all the ads and warnings to turn off cellular devices.  Why pay for admission to a theatre and then sit there and play a game on your phone all the way through it?

I guess I'm just old, I enjoy taking in what I'm there to see or do and have actual conversations with people, or at an event where there is something to watch...just watching it.  But it must be an old fogey thing.

Long Live the Crotchity Old Queen

Thursday, June 14, 2012

And we're off!

Bye bye Sue!
We packed up, pulled in the slides, lifted the jacks and headed for the outside of the campground to attach the car.  So far the scooter is staying on.  After a little difficulty getting the brake buddy connected and a phone call to Coulee Region RV we were on our way.  And then there was a knock at the door.  A knock at the door while we're moving?  Huh?  Surprise, surprise, it was our friend Sue Schettle running over to say goodbye.....literally.  She was staying overnight at Whispering Pines and saw us pulling away.  So we invited her in for an extremely brief tour since there's not much to see with the sides in and everything packed up ready to roll, but it's always nice to leave with a hug goodbye.

Left Brain started out driving and we stopped at Lake City for lunch about noon just as the rain started to come down.  After fortifying ourselves with burgers and fries we dodged the raindrops back to the RV and the Queen took the wheel.  This was scary, but necessary to start my motorhome driving 101 course. Thank goodness I have one of the best drivers available to teach me.

Let me make this perfectly clear before I even start to tell you about that adventure.  The lanes are really not wide enough for me to drive on.  Seriously.  Yeah, yeah...I know...semis and larger trucks manage to manuver their way, but the Queen behind the wheel of the RV....not so much.

It took a while to get the hang of the steering wheel, not to mention what happens when a semi sucks you over or the wind hits you broadside and pushs you to the side.  I saw it as two choices actually, would I prefer to die in a head on crash or by flipping off the side.  That's pretty much it.....take your pick.

I did not cause this....I swear!

I thought the worst part was getting through town with parked cars and stop lights at first.  Then I changed my mind and figured that rolling up and down hills on a two lane road was much worse.

Meeting a semi on a narrow (at least to me it seemed narrower) bridge brought forth of images of two sumo wrestlers trying to fit through a doorway at the same wasn't going to be pretty.  Left Brain got a bit excited at this point but managed to stay cool, in spite of imminent death. 

Then we approached the cities and I seriously wondered what the hell I was doing behind the wheel of this beast in five lane traffic!  I found myself holding my breath when I had two semis pass me at the same time, one on each side.  Good Lord!  I don't even want to talk about trying to change lanes in city traffic.  Oh, did I mention it was raining?

After a while I had 10 second episodes of not thinking about it...just driving.  My fingers started to loosen their grip and my shoulders came down from under my ears to their normal position.  My jaw even began to unclench.  Normally I'm pretty chatty while traveling but I was unable to speak or look around.  My only views were to check  the backup camera to assure me the car was still there, the side mirrors to see what traffic was coming and the lane in front of me to see if I was in the right spot. I was either getting the hang of it or going into shock, not real sure.

I know it's crazy but I also found myself ducking when we went under bridges.  You know how low it feels in parking ramps, that's the same sensation I had with the bridges.  What?  You don't feel the ceilings are too low?  Oh.  I guess it's just me.  Never mind.
Thank G-d we didn't go through the Lowry Tunnel, I think that might have unhinged me completely.

this is what we passed ....thank goodness LB was at the wheel
Finally we pulled over to get gas and I sprang from the drivers seat like it had an ejection button.  Thankfully Left Brain took over at the pumps and not a minute too soon.  This was what greeted us as we got back on the road.  

In a short period of time we arrived at the campground.  I ran in to get checked in and was greeted by a lovely Irish lass named Molly O'Keeffe.  We got maps and rules and she had our mail.  Things are looking up.

She Devil basking in the view out our front window
Since it was down to a mild drizzle, Left Brain jumped out to do the outside set up and I got the inside prepared.  Then we snacked on some watermelon and opened up the months worth of mail that was delivered.  There's not much in the fridge for supper so we'll do with snacks tonight and find groceries in the morning.

So, all in all it was a good first day.  I drove and nobody died.  We arrived and got settled in. 

Long Live the Queen 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ready to Roll!

Well, today is the last day at Whispering Pines and tomorrow we head north for our first attempt at taking off.

My first stop was to the Home Medical Supply to try a different face mask for the CPAP machine.  This one just straps on to the nose and has little nostril things.  I wasn't sure if I felt more like Miss Piggy or a rhino with the tubing going up to my forhead.  I can't wait to get to bed tonight and "slip into something more comfortable".  I thought it was a bit rude that she asked me if I could keep my mouth shut.  If you don't have the full face mask (like my Hannibel Lector style) you need to breathe ONLY through the nose. Any of my friends would have said no!  Wow, while typing that last sentence I missed the R in friends and realized that my group is only one letter away from being fiends.  That's very telling.
this is what ia actually looks like

I had some time to kill so I did another drop at Good Will and left my beloved bo staff at TASK Karate studios with a note for Randy.  Hopefully he will be able to find some young student with a need for it.

Then after a stop at People's Coop for some fresh berries and some dishsoap that is cruelty free (it's harder to find that you might think).  They also had some lovely parfait glasses that matched the other two I bought.  I was just thinking the other day that I wished I had two more of them...and now I do.

With my errands completed I went over to Taste of India to meet up with Marti, Colleen and Karen for one more Indian buffet before leaving.  We were our usual loud and racous selves, I'm really surprised we haven't been asked to leave yet.  After having seen the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (for the elderly and beautiful) I was thinking we needed to rename this restaurant the Best Exotic Taste of India for the Elderly and Beautiful.  Mainly because I'm beautiful and they're.....well....old.

On my way home I stopped at the hazardous waste center to dispose of the old drugs and medicines like a good girl and was handed one back.  Apparently you can only bring those in on special days when the police are present.  I'm trying to do the right thing here, but they seem to make it difficult.  I had tried before to take them to a pharmacy, certainly THEY know what to do with old drugs but they refused also and sent to me the Hazardous Waste Facility.  Now I don't know if I should take them to a police station or sell them in some dark alley.  I just want to get rid of them in an appropriate manner!

When we got home we took down the awning and put the golf clubs and chairs in the car.  Then we managed to hoist the scooter on to the carrier behind the car.  We really need a ramp, I don't want to have to lift that too many times - too heavy!  We're hoping the carrier holds and the scooter on it.  We'll know by the time we get there if this is working or not.

I started putting away some of the indoor things and although I've put my garden "to bed" many times in my life, I've never put it "to bath".  It is important to not have more plants than your bathtub will hold.

So, wish us luck for a safe journey and we should be set up again tomorrow night.

Long Live the Queen of Whispering Pines

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One step closer

Yesterday I went for my second spin around the campground on the blue scooter and it felt better, easier, much more confident.  So as the song rumbled through my head...get your motor started....head out to the highway...I did.  It was like a subliminal message to take it to the road.  I can't help it, I just listen to the voices in my head...what can I say?

Now I'm not completely crazy, close...but not completely, and I didn't have any big plans to join up with a Hell's Angels gang or anything.  I just needed to get about one mile down the highway to some backroads with blacktop to practice more.  After monitoring traffic for the biggest gap I could find I pulled on to the highway and kicked it in.  What a rush!

When the car behind me got closer I eased into a pull around lane to let him go by and then made it the rest of the way to the country roads.  Take me roads...I feel like I'm in a musical number! I tooled around for a bit exploring and managed to actually get it up to the 35 mph allowed on the road without feeling too out of control.  Whoo Hoo!

When I went past the little rural landing strip it was tempting to take it for a spin since I didn't see any planes approaching, but decided against it.  See...I do have some restraint!  After an enjoyable cruise through the country on good roads and literally no traffic I made my way back to the dreaded highway again.

Again I waited for the best opportunity and ventured back towards the campground.  It was a bit nerve wracking when the car behind me started to get really close and I had to make a judgement call.  I wanted to pull over to the right and go slow so he could go around me but my left hand turn into the campground was approaching quickly.

So, I did what the manual instructs you do and stayed in the left portion of my lane (as I have a right to do) and signaled my turn.  He slowed and proceeded to enter the right side area to get past me and I turned into the campground a confident rider of the scooter.  Another fear conquered.

Max speed on this thing is only about 55 mph and I had it up to 50 during my highway runs and that is the fastest I ever want to go on it.  This will be a great mode of transportation for around the campgrounds and in towns but I'm not looking forward to any highway travel anytime soon.

Later that night Left Brain and I enjoyed a quiet evening on the deck of Bob and Marvelous Marti for appetizers and pina coladas. 

I'd never had one before and wasn't sure I'd like it but they were yummy.  So yummy that while she mixed up the next batch I finished both my drink and hers. 

Ooooops.   They were just so refreshing!

Of course since today is a musical number we tried to sing the Pina Colada song....not very well I'm afraid.

She had the table set beautifully and what a pleasure to enjoy the view of her lovely gardens while the butterflies and birds flitted in and out.  After the hot spell we had I wasn't sure how comfortable it would be outside, but the weather cooled down and it was just the most perfect evening.  We laughed and drank, and talked and drank and ate and drank....let's just say we were all well hydrated when we left. 

Princess Diana clematis
As we toured her gardens I told her of the last visit to the house to show the new owner how to clean the filters for the pond. 

Left Brain and I had arrived early and I had a chance to leisurely stroll through my previous gardens. 

What a mixed feeling that was.

As I walked among the plants I had so lovingly picked out, planted and nurtured into maturity it was sweet to see how well they were thriving.  That part was a little sad. 

But as I saw all the dead fallen branches (there are woods right behind the house)  that hadn't been removed and how weed infested and grass choked the gardens were I felt a little better. 

I remembered the many hours each day weeding, trimming, vining and training the plants to go where I wanted them....and the realization of how time consuming that had been....and that I don't have to do that any more.  That part was good.

The plants will do fine without me, they are vigorous and strong.  And I know that in time the new owners will get moved in and take care of them because they do love the yard.  They are just overwhelmed with their own project of preparing the house they still reside in for sale.  I am blessed to be beyond that and to have moved into our motorhome that came furnished and that after a month and a half things have fallen into place nicely.  They still have a long hard journey ahead of them.

So,  my thoughts are bittersweet lately .I'm missing the beauty of my previous gardens but relieved to not be caring for them.  I'm already missing my friends but know they will always be in my heart and when we reconnect it will be more intense because of the absence.

Life is a trade off, you can't have it all.  But I feel as though I have been blessed with more than any one can deserve.  So I just continue to thank G-d for all the blessings bestowed upon me and endeavor to learn to fully enjoy them.

Long Live the Queen

Monday, June 11, 2012

The scooter ride from Hell

Sunday was a leisurely day and a hot one also. Thank goodness for AC!  We usually try to get by without it, having come from that generation of open windows and fans, but it sure is nice to have it when needed.

I struggle with falling asleep anyway and when it's hot and sticky it's harder than ever.   Strapping on a rigid plastic face mask while sweaty and sticky is unbearable. And if the Queen doesn't sleep well...nobody sleeps well!

We ventured out a bit in the morning to care for a few things.  After watering my garden Left Brain showed me the basics of the scooter and sent me on my first trip.

Do you remember the harrowing feeling of taking life in your own hands the first time you rode your two wheeler without the training wheels or someone running along side of you to help you balance?
Those memories washed over me as I blazed out of here at 5mph for a trip around the campground.

My choices for terrain here are gravel, soft dirt or patchy grass....none of which are great for learning how to ride a bike.  I did well for a bit and then I had to make a left hand turn.  After managing that one my confidence grew and I handled yet another! Then I blasted forward at 10 mph with the wind blowing my hair and starting humming "born to be wild" and other motorcycle songs....there are no good scooter songs.  I may have to compose some.

Then I thought I'd try turning right and realized that the bike only knows how to make left hand turns.  Must be a NASCAR scooter!  It probably had more to do with the fact that the throttle is in the right hand and I had a death grip on the left handlebar.  I did finally manage to go to the right....once.  The second time I tried it the bike simply refused and my choices were to plow through someone's tent or turn I turned left.  Can you imagine their surprise if I came driving through?  This is where I learned that giggling can accompany abject terror.

My legs shot out for an emergency crash and I learned that I really can stay upright, even if it's just to stop and put my legs out on both sides.  After catching my breath....and yet trying to look cool...I cranked back the throttle again to return home.  Certainly Left Brain must be worried about me by now and is probably thinking about forming a search party for the body.

But I did manage to return home again, safely and intact.  My goal is to attempt a trip around the park each day until I can navigate all the various paths and roads with confidence.  He tells me that when I get on blacktop it will really feel easy.  I hope he's right and that I can look forward to jumping on my scooter and actually enjoy the experience.

This is just another part of my new life, trying new things and conquering fears daily.  It is a bit like revisiting ones childhood where every experience seems new and exciting...or scary.  Just as a child you need to learn to crawl before walking,  and to walk before running.  Each of our new experiences are like that, testing new abilities and learning to breathe and not be afraid.  Then developing the confidence that goes with mastering those steps to attempt yet another.

We don't grow by just sitting at home in our recliners and watching the world on television, where everything is always safe and comfortable.  We need to burst out of our comfort zone and push the limits a bit to find out what we are made of.  I realized this as I matured in life, but mistakenly had thought at 60 I had it all wrapped up.  I'm learning now that it never ends.  We're always pushing and learning something new and dealing with the discomfort that change brings.  And that it's okay.  There is a great line in the movie "the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" that goes....
everything will be okay in the end...and if it is not yet okay, it's not the end.

Long Live the Queen of the Highway

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pulling the pieces together

I'm a person who resists change, it makes me feel uncertain and inadequate.  So you can image how my mind is fluttering as we seem to be making some kind of new decision every day.  It will feel good when we've done this long enough for it to become normal and to stop tackling some new project every day or having to make major decisions.  Although....I am able to look at a menu and decide much more quickly now, so I have progressed.

This is our last weekend here at Whispering Pines and we're busy preparing for what I call our practice launch, since we're still somewhat in the "home" area.  Interior Designs managed to correct my faux pas with the Corian countertop and it is again smooth and straight.  Now I know that you must remove both covers while cooking AND using the oven and not to replace them until it is COOL.  In my effort to keep everything looking neat and tidy they were replaced too soon and this caused the warp.  But I'm on to it now and it will not happen again on my watch! 

They also have some half-samples of carpet that worked perfectly for my itsy bitsy bathroom floor.  It is a bit like playing house where everything is just a little smaller than normal...except for us. 

Drops?  In my eyes?   We'll see about that!
She Devil had a visit to the vet on Friday and she continues to lose weight, which is not good.  Her eyes are getting worse and what we thought was the beginning of cataracts is not.  So, in addition to her four injections a day we will be adding eye drops to her regime. 

That ought to be interesting!  She will be 15 years old next month and with her diabetes is probably approaching her final years.  So, we do the best we can and lavish her with attention while we can.

After running some errands we'll finally get to see the movie we've been waiting for (Marigold Hotel) and then Left Brain needs to teach me how to ride the scooter.  Then I can compete with the little girl on her pink and white bicycle who is learning how to ride also.  I wonder if he'd mind adding some cool tassels to my handlebars?

Long Live the Queen of Chaos

Friday, June 8, 2012

Reactions to our radical lifestyle

We were at a party recently and people commented on our change of lifestyle.  It's always interesting to see the reactions we get.

It seems to be divided into two camps, those excited for us and those who think we are nuts.  There doesn't tend to be much of a middle ground here; very similar to the reaction to cats, you either love them or hate them.

In one group there will be glazed eyes and admiration as they confess that they would love to just chuck everything and do what we're doing.  Or at least to get rid of all the extra stuff and have a smaller house.  I think this path will be embraced by many Baby Boomers as we age and look for an easier life.

The second group will lean back in horror and grimace as if we just told them we were serial killers.  Often these people feel compelled to hiss "I could NEVER do THAT" like it's something illegal or immoral.  Hey, I never said this was for everyone!

We're even different among our fellow RV'ers.  As I was walking through the campground today I noticed that in an ocean of white and tan RV's we are living in a black one with silver trim and towing a black car.  I kind of feel like the motorhome mafia and have considered wearing sunglasses and lots of gold chains.

I guess we're just destined to always stand apart somehow.

Long Live the Queen of Oddities