Sunday, June 29, 2014

I'm playing again!

I found that there was indoor pickleball at the YMCA in Andover, about a 15 minute drive from us, so on Saturday I went to check it out.

There was a small amount of fear in playing again because the last time I tried it, it didn't feel so good and I needed to ice my shoulder afterwards.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I managed to stay and play for three hours...completely pain free.

Now, my legs were another story.  I felt fine at first, but all that lactic acid had built up in my muscle tissue and by the time we were out and about to grab some lunch and get groceries I was wobbling around like someone at a Dude ranch that just got off a long horseback ride.

That night I drank a bunch of water and took an Aleve about 9:00pm and went to bed.  In the morning things were fine again and no soreness anywhere, legs or shoulders.

It feels so good to be able to play again!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Life in the RV Park

Most of the RV'ers have some kind of secondary vehicle.

Those who pull a fifth-wheel trailer or trailer or another sort generally have a large truck to get around in.

The motorhome crowd usually has a smaller car towed behind it.

Both groups usually have a bike, canoe, kayak for some other kind of toy as well.

But today was a first for me when I spotted this little baby in the campground.

Long Live the Queen of Classic Cars

Friday, June 27, 2014

My granddaughters are so athletic!

We were able to catch the last home game for Kiersten's soccer team.  The night was warm with a soft breeze and very comfortable for watching the drama unfold.  Kiersten is wearing the green and black striped shirt with her long blonde ponytail flying behind her.

Just had to sneak in this shot of their other goalie, Armani - quite the kicker!

But my favorite goalie is of course Miss K Swiftie herself

Long Live the Queen of Soccer Kids

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Simple Solution

To conserve space in the RV, I have only one fry pan...a very large over sized one that can meet any need.  

But, to use this pan I need to remove the counter top sections over the burners, store them somewhere safely and then wait until the burners are completely cool before replacing them.  

Yes, I realize it's not that hard and I am retired and should have sufficient time in the day to deal with it, but it's still a hassle I'd like to avoid.

Then, through the mysteries of Facebook the answer appeared, thanks to Becky Brockman.  She commented that they purchased an electric fry pan so her husband could cook his bacon outside the camper and not make such a mess inside.

Duh!  There was my answer all electric frying pan.
I can cook on the counter-top without dismantling it and it stores nicely in my kitchen cart.  Even better is that it cooks evenly since the heating coils are placed to do so, much better than a huge frying pan on a single burner.

If the weather is too hot to cook inside, I can plug it in outside on the table and use it there.  This is just too good!

Why is that I can come up with some complex solutions and yet overlook something as easy as this?

Long Live the Queen of Out of the Fire and Into the Frying Pan

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Water water everywhere

We left Goose Island as it was continuing to be submerged by all the rain for better pastures...or so we thought.

It seems that flooding and devastation follow us as they are experiencing high water and flooding in the Minneapolis area as well.

Here are some scenes from the park to show you what I mean.

This is what it looks like along the edge of ham lake.

The beach area is usually full of kids playing, but the high water and fecal matter from the ducks and geese are making it pretty unappealing.

Long Live the Queen of Wet

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our next RV

Just when you think you've got everything the way you want it, something new comes along to tempt you.

While visiting with our daughter and family she told us about this wild creation and just had to show it to us.

Oh no.  Now Left Brain wants this new toy.  

As soon as we will the lottery it will be ours!

Long Live the Queen of Land and Sea

Monday, June 23, 2014

Poppies redone

My friend, Kelly, posted a photo of some poppies by her house and I loved the arrangement of them.

But, of course, I felt a need to alter them a bit.

I changed the background and then added Miss Edna's waterfall texture and blended it with a soft light.  Then I went over the entire image with my impressionist brush to give it a dreamy quality.

Long Live the Queen of Poppies

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Goals for Year Three

Our first year of RV life was learning how to live in an RV and coexist in 325 square feet without bloodshed.  It wasn't always easy, but we emerged unscathed.  

The second year of RV life was figuring out what was working and what needed to be changed.  This prompted the remodeling or our space to fine tune it into what worked best for us.  It also became our social year with much more entertaining and visiting than we ever had before in our sticks and bricks house.

Upon completion of our second year on the road it appears to be smooth sailing all the way.

This third year will be investing in new tires for the RV that will carry us for another eight years with living on the open road and working on our physical and mental health.  We've both become too heavy and out of shape and it's time to do something about it.

Left Brain insists we need more exercise and I resist anything that starts with "ex".  My mind conjures up things like ex-spouse, ex-lax, exorcism, excrement, excruciating, execute, exhaust, explode, exploit, and exile.

My plan is to play more, be active and hopefully to lose some of my excess (there's another ex) weight and tone up my muscles.

I think I'm going to like Year Three!

Long Live the Queen of Excitement (one of the better ex's)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Settled in at Ham Lake MN

Our departure from Goose Island was not as smooth as we usually enjoy.  Normally we have everything packed up the night before and it takes very little time to unhook and go.  However, since it rained the night before (yet again) all the stuff Left Brain so diligently arranged on the picnic table was wet, so it had to wait until the morning to be stowed away.

Things were not as "ship shape" as we would have liked.

But thankfully the morning was dry and we were able to proceed with extracting boards and leveling pads from the ground where they had sunk in.  After a messy period of time everything was on board and we went to dump the tanks and hit the highway.

This time of year in the Midwest brings two things, mosquitoes and construction, both of which are equally annoying.  It was not a relaxing drive northward to our new home and I was glad Left Brain was doing all of it while I knitted away.

When we pulled into our campsite we had a bit of a panic when we saw a large white barrier.  Oh no!  Did we have to park somewhere else for a period of time and then move again....I hate it when that happens.  But we panicked too quickly and our expressions of concern turned into smiles when we read the greetings from our family.

We were quickly greeted by our neighbors, Jim and Kathy, who "live next door" during this part of our sojourn.  They were quick to greet us and then disappear, since as full-timers themselves they know how eager we are to get everything set up and put away before we can relax.

Kathy did come back over briefly with lemonades for us to sip on while working on the set up.  

Are these great neighbors or what!  

Not only did she provide beverages but they had insisted on preparing our supper that night.

After the set up was done both inside and out, we showered and then sat outside to enjoy the cool breeze while they were busy getting our meal ready. It felt so good to be welcomed and pampered upon our arrival.

A new configuration for the kitties to explore and enjoy

Soon we got the supper call and wandered over to a scrumptious meal of chicken, pork chops, potatoes, a vegetable dish, bread and watermelon slices.  Even better than this gastronomical treat was the sharing of stories and laughter as we began to catch up with each other.

After a couple hours of visiting we both felt the fatigue of the day catching up with us, and so with both our hearts and our bellies full we returned to See-More for some cat cuddling and relaxing.

It's so good to be back in our Minnesota Home.

Long Live the Queen of Ham Lake

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ready to Roll

Our time at Goose Island has been sweet and much too fleeting, but after a couple of months we're always getting itchy to hit the road.

On my last couple of days here I attempted to do some geocaching with my phone, since the Garmin has been shipped back for repair.  It was my first time doing this solo and I have to say...I suck at this. 

 Hopefully it's because the phone isn't calibrated correctly but I think it's because Left Brain is so much better at it than me.

But while out and about I came across some really pretty sights, thanks again to Bob as I searched for his "Cruising the Coulee" cache.  Even though I was batting zero for finding the caches, I did snag some fun photos of other items.

On Thursday I had a final lunch with the Divine Miss M before she begins her adventure.  Their house has been sold and they are waiting in a rented condo for their International Adventure to begin with a leisurely tour of England, Ireland, Switzerland, Scotland and who knows where else they might land.

I shook hands with the owner of Pickerman's and told him I'd see him next year when we return. 

It was too rainy to pack that night, so we waited until this morning.  Everything is still wet, but at least we won't be working in a downpour.  

The internet is still balking, so I will not be able to post as many photos as I had hoped and will just go with these meager couple and call it good.  Hopefully our next stop will have better internet!

Long Live the Queen of Goose Island

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Last week at Goose Island

It's been nonstop visiting this last week, as seems to be the case.

On Sunday we had a friend stop by and visit over lunch time for a couple of hours.

Monday I had lunch with some friends but had to hustle it back to the RV before Left Brain's sister arrived for an overnight stay.  Sister Mary is always a delight to have as a house guest.  Let me interpret that for you...she's easy.  No, not that kind of "easy", but she comes with her own supply of favorite beverages, pillow and (my favorite part!) a large bags of gifts for us.

She gave us a hardcover book of loop trips all around the US that I've been busy poring over after her departure.  I was also the recipient of a really cool cat shirt, cat scarf and cat themed handbag.  Does this lady know me or what!

George and Gracie received brand new catnip toys that they eagerly attacked and then went into a catnip induced stupor.  They also got some cat treats, but we haven't shared those with them yet, gotta hold back something for later.

Left Brain got a huge bag of nuts, which I found very fitting.

We had a nice visit with her and then another mutual friend staying in the park.  My son, Joe, arrived a bit later and we cooked some burgers on the grill while telling stories.

When my son and the other friend left we went inside as the weather was starting to look a little nasty.  Gracie curled up on her lap several times to enjoy some adoration that only Sister Mary can lavish on cats. Gracie thought the airbed prepared for our guest was her very own new bed.

We introduced her to "Downton Abbey" as we needed to finish up our DVD's from the library before our departure.  All was going well until the storm hit in full force and it was hard to hear the TV, and then the park lost the electricity and all was dark.  It's funny that this happened as my friend at lunch was just saying how you don't realize how dependent you are on electricity until a storm takes it out.  And, as I explained to her, this is a non issue in an RV as we started up the generator and continued our show.

The power was still out when we prepared for bed, so I plugged my CPAP machine into the 12volt plug that Left Brain installed for me in such instances, and we all snuggled in to sleep...except for George, of course, who is our cowardly lion and cowered in a corner.  I've tried to comfort him in storms before by snuggling him in bed, which works good until a really loud clap of thunder transforms it into a painful experience as he launches away to go hide, leaving me with a trail of scratches in the process.

On Tuesday morning we went to The Hungry Peddler for breakfast and then she headed home and we returned to the RV for a nice rest from all the socializing we've been doing.  At least until the phone rang.

Our daughter and her family had joined forces with our son-in-law's family for a houseboat vacation on the Mississippi to celebrate his 20 year career with the Navy.  They would  be in Wabasha in a couple of hours and could we run up and join them.  So, into the car we went as it's about a two hour drive to get there.

We arrived early enough that I could position myself to photograph them as they came in, passing under the bridge that spans the Mississippi.  Actually I was shooting the wrong houseboat at first, so I did offer to email them their photos as well when they both docked at the marina. The marina is next door to Slippery's from the movie Grumpy Old Men which was shot in Wabasha MN.  My son-in-law was one of the extras in that movie as well as the sequel.

It was fun to catch up with everyone and see this floating hotel they are enjoying.  Chris prepared some very tasty steaks and pork chops on the grill for supper.  After some more visiting they proposed going on an hour ride with them and we declined to start back home. 

One of the many barges that travel up and down the Mississippi River
Wednesday brought us together with Jerry and Anita, long time friends who started full-timing before we did, for some lunch and brainstorming.  They live in the area we'd like to explore this winter in California and were a wealth of information on what to see and do in the area.  You can't get this kind of insider knowledge in a book or website!  I am really looking forward to our California winter this year and it should work out beautifully for the family to come visit us so they can experience Los Angeles  and San Diego.

Since we have Sister Mary checking on places for us in Mesa AZ at her park for January and February we now have four months figured out.  I love this life.

It's warm and humid today, so the AC is on and it's time to catch up on some photos and blogging. 

Long Live the Queen of California Dreaming

Sunday, June 15, 2014


The newest art event in La Crosse WI is Artspire, which encompasses art, music, singing, dance, theater and storytelling.  Thank goodness I was able to experience this on our last weekend in the area.

The showcase of the events was unveiling the tromp l'oeil mural done by nationally recognized artist, John Pugh.  This takes up the entire side of the Pump House Regional Arts Center and depicts the lively history of this town.

I have several artist friends that were showcasing their talents that day and stopped to visit with a couple of them.

Joyce Diveley does the most interesting work with her pottery.  I was fortunate in the past to take one of her clay camps, but I think I'll leave this fine work to her.
Laurel Grey used to be a neighbor and it's been fun to watch her artwork expand as she tries new techniques and media.  And to think her very first "art show" was in my house!  She's come a long way since then.

These adjustable pendants are made from microscope slides and rice paper.
I love her dragonflies!
Her creations come with a hand crafted gift box

Behind the Pump House they had a stage with singers and this little lady belted out "Don't Rain on My Parade" in a manner that would have made Babs herself smile. 

Kelly Kreig-Sigman did a storytelling about a madam in the La Crosse area and how this profession also provided a safe haven to victims of domestic abuse, before that term was even coined.  Her costume was lovely but apparently not all that comfortable...who'd a thunk?

I wish I could have taken more of the event in, but that morning there was a bar mitzvah to attend.  What joy to watch this fine young person become a man, he did such a nice job.

Long Live the Queen of Arts

Saturday, June 14, 2014

George's Big Adventure

I have to admit I was a little scared when I was carried off all alone to return to the vet.  We were just there a couple of days ago and it was no fun!  I played along with the exam and didn't hiss or bite or anything, even when they stuck needles in me for something called vaccinations.

Just when I thought it was safe to return home again I was whisked away for something called "blood work".  My parents weren't allowed to go with me and that had me really scared.  Thank goodness for when we got home.

Then suddenly the food supply disappeared at 8:00 pm.  What's going on!  We always have a late night snack so we let the Queen sleep in until at least 7:00 am before we start our petition to go outside and play in our tent and tunnel.

Early in the morning I was unceremoniously shoved into a cat carrier, all alone and put into the car.  Mom did spray a towel with some calming spray and that was nice, but I didn't like this at all!

When I got to the vet they made me real comfortable, so comfortable that I'm not even sure what they did next.  I was so sleepy...what was in that shot?  Have I been abducted by aliens?

But when I woke up there was The Queen and Left Brain ready to take me home.  At least I think so, I was still pretty groggy and might have been dreaming.

I guess it was worth it, my teeth really were a mess.  Now they are sparkly clean, but five of the smaller ones are missing.  Thank goodness they didn't take away my manly looking massive fangs!  They called this an extraction.  Left Brain made some comment about a major extraction from his wallet, but I'm not sure what that means.

The best part is that now my mouth isn't so sore, probably from the great drugs they gave me for the pain.  But they tell me I will not have any pain when I eat now, so maybe I can eat a little slower and enjoy my food....even those crunchy ones that Gracie loves so much.

I only have to have pain meds for three more days, it tastes weird and no matter how I wiggle and squirm The Queen manages to get it down my throat.

I'm thankful for the willingness of my parents to make sure I get good healthcare, but I'm not looking forward to visiting the vet any time soon again!

Long Live Prince George With The Shiny Teeth

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Completing all the yearly doctor appointments

Thank you Resa for this image....this is my new dream home!
When we are in the former "home" area, we make sure everything is ship shape to continue into the next year.  Left Brain has one more physical therapy session and he's done so it was time to take Gracie and George to the vet for their annual exam and vaccinations.

I'd been dreading this trip since it's a long drive and I was envisioning all kinds of howling and crying the entire drive, but I forget...these are traveling cats.  Gracie voiced her opinion on the matter once or twice, but for the most part it was a quiet drive.

At the vet's office Gracie was the first to jump out of the carrier and greet Dr Havlik with kisses to her nose.  She's a social one, that Gracie.  George did his best impersonation of the invisible cat and stayed in the back of the carrier.

Both their check ups went fine and even though I thought Gracie was getting a bit pudgy, she weighed in at 9.5 pounds and was pronounced as slender by the vet.  George weighed in at a titch over 9 pounds, which amazed the vet as he looks like a massive cat due to his long lanky frame and fluffy hair.

They both weathered their rabies and distemper shots without a whimper.  The only bad news (other than the bill) was that George's teeth are awful.  So, he went back this morning to be anesthetized for dental work.  He'll have a full cleaning and will no doubt need some extractions. Based on the estimate for the dental work, this will be painful for us as well as him.

He generally eats more of the canned food, while Gracie likes all things crunchy.  It could be that his teeth have been hurting and he's been avoiding the crunchy food as a result.  This is probably why my attempts at brushing his teeth have not gone so well, even with the chicken flavored toothpaste.  I mean, come can anyone not love that?

Long Live the Queen of Wellness

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Feeding the varmints

Maybe it's because I love to eat, that I show love by feeding all those around me.

Here in Goose Island the birds and animals abound and all seem to appreciate our offerings of day old bread and chips.

The only part that annoys me is when they knock on the door asking for some salsa and a margarita.

We spend a fair amount of money on grape jelly for the birds.

And we pick up bird seed as often as we buy supplies for us.

It seems like I'm mixing up sugar water on a regular basis for the hummingbirds as well.  

But I don't mind doing any of this as they provide an all day show and entertainment for all of us....especially George and Gracie

Long Live the Queen

Cleaning up around the RV

Well, there's good news and there's bad news.

The good news is that my shoulder is healed enough that I can now resume doing  some heavy cleaning that's been put off.

The bad news is that now I can resume the heaving cleaning that's been put off. 

The first thing on my list was the grunge collected in the microwave-convection oven.  There does not seem to be a cleaner made for these, so I tackled it the old fashioned way.

First I set a bowl of vinegar in the oven and heated it on high for five minutes, letting the steam build up and coat the sides.

Then I dumped some baking soda in a shallow dish and added just enough water to form a paste.  It's amazing what these two ingredients can perform.

Since the dentist is kind enough to give us these nice toothbrushes every time we visit, I used one of these to get into the nooks and crannies. 

Along with some good old scrubbing with a rag and lots of rinsing it is now shiny clean.

The only problem now is I hate to use it and get it all dirty again.

Thankfully I don't have to do all the cleaning alone.  Gracie is always there to lend a helping paw.  Here she's helping me put away some groceries.

Long Live the Queen 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Turtles abound in the park

There are an abundance of turtles here in the park and I seem to have an every day encounter with them.

For one thing, it seems I have been made the honorary crossing guard to ensure their safety.

I've learned from Hannah Dove more about snapping turtles lately, so I won't be assisting them any time soon.  It seems they can reach quite far with their neck and have a ferocious bite.

We came across this mother busy covering up the eggs that she had laid and packing them down firmly to protect them.
Check out the massive claws on those back feet! And Left Brain complains about my toenails.

Based on Hannah Dove's description, I'm wondering if this might be a snapping turtle.  

Long Live the Turtle Queen