Archive for January, 2007


It’s been one of those days. One of those days where not one little thing seems to go right. Where everything you touch, tanks. One of those days when you spend a lot of time talking to people who DO NOT UNDERSTAND, and furthermore, could not care less.

It started this morning with a meeting at the rec hall so that the new owners of this RV park could tell us all about how wonderful it’s going to be when they’ve changed this rustic park, which is in a natural desert forest – into a ‘5 star resort’. (You’ve heard my views on this before!). Oh yes, and they informed us that very soon, 150 palm trees would be arriving in the park. For cripes sake, palm trees are NOT indigenous to the desert! But, be that as it may, THEY bought the park and THEY can do what they want with it. But these retirees here, go on and on and on….they argue and bring up the silliest things that they are bent out of shape about. Now, I had a talk with me before we went up there this morning, and was on my best behavior! I didn’t tell anyone to sit down, shut the #$*&% up, or to build a bridge and get over it. But I wanted to. Oh, yeah.

Then we went into the little town where we pick up our mail, and came home to take care of some business.

We left Washington too early this fall to get our flu shots, so went to the county health office and got our shots when we arrived here in Arizona. Now we’ve received a notice and our health insurance has politely declined to pay for our flu shots, as we’ve gone ‘out of network’ to get them. I called our insurance company to ask how feasible they think it would have been for me to drive 1,300 miles home for my shot – and they just kept saying the same thing, "You didn’t call us for permission". They weren’t amused either, when I suggested that I’d like to ask for permission now – in case I get sick before I reach Washington in April, and have to visit a doctor ‘out of network’. (You know, if I’m convulsing in pain, or barfing my guts up, I may just not remember that I have to call and ask for permission!)

Shortly after we came South, our car insurance company had sent us our renewal forms and T read them from front to back, something we don’t normally do. He had done a LOT of research and cost comparing when we got married and both had different insurance companies and wanted to combine cars, house, the boat, etc., – and we’ve always been really pleased with how low our insurance cost is. Well, on reading the policy, he noted a paragraph stating our insurance is a little higher than it could be because we use a higher than average credit amount. T about had a cow! We don’t buy anything on credit. We only use one credit card for living expenses, and we pay it off at the end of each month. So that started a marathon of calls between the credit company, our insurance company, and our bank. With each of them telling us we’d have to call the other. And the insurance company telling us they couldn’t tell us what formula they use to determine these things! Anyway, it ended with the assurance that it would be corrected.

Today, we received the ‘corrected’ report, and, you guessed it, it wasn’t corrected. In fact, our credit limit is now listed as if it is the amount we owe! Right. T called our bank and went over the entire story with the assistant manager. Who wanted T to call the credit card company. T informed her that he would not be calling anyone – that we got our credit card through our bank – and if she didn’t want to take care of this problem and straighten it out, we could find another bank to use. (I’m not sure where they left that, or where I’ll be banking next week).

We turned the TV on as T wanted to watch something on a channel he’d looked at this morning. Now, I read, I don’t watch much TV and couldn’t tell you one channel from another, but T knows them all. He has a VAST interest in everything. I’ve seen him watch everything from brain operations, to doing math with a math teacher – and flipping through what seems like hundreds of stations. (I don’t know how many we have, but it is a lot, and believe me, HE knows how many). So when the channel he wanted to watch was not on, he called the company we pay over $60.00 a month to, and asked them what was going on. Well, it seems as if they took it off this morning. If he wants to watch it, we have to upgrade to another package that is an ADDITIONAL $60.00 a month. I listened to him argue with her for quite awhile – and he did wear her down to the point where she offered to give it to him for 50% off! I think she was in China and they were having a bit of a communications problem. I was having my own problems, so don’t know where he ended up on that one. (Or whether or not we have any service at all.)

I had some other problems of my own. I had decided to make rice krispie treats – in the microwave. It’s not always easy cooking in a motor home. But how hard are rice krispie treats? And the microwave instructions are right there on the cereal box. Well, T was hungry and I was going to make a tuna noodle casserole, so I put the butter and marshmallows in the bowl for the rice krispie treats and stuck the bowl in the microwave for 3 minutes, (just like the box said), while I got out the soup, tuna, chips, etc. When I opened the microwave, the marshmallows hadn’t really melted, they had expanded by ten times! WAY over the top of the bowl, thick, gooey, – and running down and pooling in the microwave tray. THAT stuff is REALLY sticky.

While I was trying to clean up the microwave, and start a casserole, T was pacing back and forth while he was on the phone. Now in a 32 foot motorhome, there isn’t much room for pacing, or for cooking. And he was in my 1BK (as my neighbor here calls it): a one butt kitchen, and he wasn’t doing much for my stress level.

We finally ate – even had rice krispie treats for dessert. I got the kitchen clean again, and T went to lie down. I’m making a pot of coffee and am going to sit here. In the silence.


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Odds, and “Ends”

I’m going to try to get a post done today, but seems as if I’m easily side-tracked. I haven’t been on the computer much lately. We’ve been taking some day trips, and participating in some of the social events the RV park sets up. And then, of course, I stay busy with the day to day fun stuff – you know – buying groceries, cooking, cleaning this minuscule area we live in while we spend winters away from home!

We’ve spent some time driving around and checking out property in this area. T and I both love the desert. Arizona is the ‘number one’ growing state, however, and property is high everywhere. Some days we are convinced we’d like to buy a little piece of land and come down here every winter. Then other days, we question how long we will want to do this, or if we really want to be confined to staying one place. Can’t seem to make up our minds.

Three years ago, when we left home for the first winter, we were sure that we would never want to stay one place very long, that we would just want to keep moving. Well, that can get old in a hurry. Parking, leveling, hooking up to the water, electric and sewer – all takes time. And then the unhooking, cleaning and packing it all again – not only takes time, but isn’t all that much fun. The last two winters, we were gone from home just over 4 months. Staying three to seven days at each place we stopped on our way to Arizona, and then staying here three weeks the first winter, and two months last winter. Because we wanted to go as far East as Iowa this year, we left home the middle of October to get over the passes and outrun the snow. We’ve been here in Arizona since the first of November. And don’t plan to leave until the first of April. That’s a long time!

Our decision to stay here for five months was based on the fact that in order to get the site we wanted, (which has a view of the desert as opposed to a view of other motorhomes), we had to take the site for five months. And on the fact that nightly, and even weekly rates, are much higher than monthly rates. And the more months you stay, the more cost break there is.

We’re toying with the idea of moving around a little next winter. Maybe staying one month at a time in different areas. We’ve been doing a lot of map work – trying to route out which way we want to go home – and the places we want to check out on the way home. It all takes so much time to figure out – and so many maps!

One of my ‘winter girlfriends’ and I, went to Mesa for the day, to the swap meet. And that was a full day. We must have walked about 10 miles – it’s huge buildings. After awhile, everything begins to look the same to me. We came home with some great treasures, though. I got Saguaro salt and pepper shakers, and a little hand carved box with Saguaros on the top of it. I saw a lot of things I’d like to have in my garden at home – but have NO room to take anything more home.

I buy the weekly paper here, and after reading it this week, I told T that we had to be up bright and early Saturday morning so I could go to a moving sale that was listed. I told him I wasn’t going to buy anything – that it would all be too expensive – but wanted to see it, as it was furniture made out of dead Saguaros. Well, here’s what we came home with!

This is a 6 foot tall lamp – the fluorescent lights are runningDscn0214 vertically inside of it.

And this is an end table or coffee table, made out of the root of the giant Saguaro.


I’m so excited about taking having some of my ‘desert’ at home! Now I just have to find some place to put them when we get them home to our little house on the hill. AND we have to figure out how we are going to get them home. My sister, Caryl, wanted to know if I was going to redecorate in Southwestern, and I told her, "No. In eclectic!", I’m sure! She also wanted to know if I’d ever seen them in a house – and seemed a little skeptical about our great find – but I’m having them!

Oh, yes. Now about the ‘odds’. We went to the zoo in Tucson this week. I had never seen a real giraffe until we went to the Phoenix zoo – where we saw giant ones – but not very close up – as the zoo is huge. Tucson Zoo is a little smaller and we were able to be a lot closer to the animals. I’m in awe of the giraffe and how their bodies work. We watched the rhinos roll in the mud, and an elephant playing with a large barrel.


I talk to all animals and birds. Anywhere and everywhere. So far, none have ever answered. I did, however, get a response out of the tiger. I was leaning over the guard rail where four feet in front of me, and behind bars, this beautiful tiger was pacing about five feet back and forth, and growling. I thought he might have been trying to talk to us. Then he turned his back to us, lifted his tail — and sprayed us! Ewww!   Dscn4111

I couldn’t wait to get home, clean up, and head up to the laundry! I had NO idea they could do that.

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How Apropos is THAT?


One of the little things that amuses us when we are traveling, is the fact that some of the names of streets, developments, mobile home parks, motels and other establishments – aren’t always apropos. Have you ever noticed that?

We giggle when we see a place called "Whispering Pines" in the desert – when there isn’t a pine tree within hundreds of miles. Or a street called "Cherry Lane" – when there are NO cherry trees in the vicinity. Or a delelopment named "White Oaks" – when there are no oak trees, white or otherwise, or any other type trees! However, in the middle of an area filled with pine trees, we’ll see a place called "The Desert Oasis". Or how about "The Edgewater" – when the only body of water you could possibly be on the edge of, would have to be in their bathtubs?! Or the motel named "The Dunes" – when the only sand in that whole state would have to be found in some kids’ sandbox!? We saw an RV park named "Deer Creek" – when not only was there NO creek anywhere near it – there wasn’t likely ever to be any deer around either.

And then there are the ‘pretentious’ names. A run-down mobile home park named "Leisure Estates", or a defunct motel with a sign proclaiming "We’ll Always Be Here For You". I’m sure you’ve probably all seen something like these.

Yeah, we are easily amused going down the road.

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We’ve been wintering in Arizona for three years now – and each year the weather has been ‘other than normal’. ‘Warmer than normal’ is my cup of tea. This year, Arizona is having ‘uncharacteristic cold’. Tell me about it. In the 20’s at night. I came to the desert for this? T keeps reminding me that we aren’t having to shovel it, or scrape it, or break it up with a shovel – but it’s still COLD. He also tries to tell me that 40’s and 50’s in the day time – does not feel cold to most people. To which I reply, "I don’t give a damn how cold someone else thinks it is or isn’t – I’m COLD". (He just doesn’t get that it’s all about me).

We’ve had three nights of below freezing weather. The top of the sugar water in my humming bird feeder keeps freezing over. And I forgot to cover the petunias last night, so they’ve bit it. Today the wind is blowing, fiercely. Again. I’ve already been out to secure the door mat, table cloth and lawn chairs, so that they remain on our site – instead of migrating to the neighbor’s site. I’m a little tired of this. I’d like to be outside.

We don’t take any day trips when the wind blows. There are highways here that are posted as ‘Dust Blowing Areas – do not stop on the roadway’. And they mean it. The dust blows until visibility is very limited. Besides our desire to see the road we’re traveling on,  we also like to breath – so we just don’t travel on windy days.

Weather in the desert is a mystery to me. Our first winter here was beautiful. 80 degrees on Christmas day. Sunny, bright days, perfect for flip flops. (I STILL think the ideal place to live would be where I could wear flip flops 365 days of the year. And, BTW, I’d like that many colors of them!) Then last winter, we got ‘unusual amounts of rain’. That explained all the road signs we’d laughed about the year before…‘Do not enter when raining. Flood area’. In the desert? Sure. We laughed. Until we were here when they experienced their ‘unusual amounts of rain’. It isn’t REALLY flat here. The roads gently go up and down, at least they look like it is ‘gently’. But then it rains. And you could lose your car underwater! This is a picture of one we passed last winter when they opened the road.


I do have options, however, of things to do on a cold, windy day. Today I could go up to the rec hall here at the RV park, and join the people doing  ‘crafts’. Crafts here consist of such projects as: Sun/wind catchers made out of CD’s – crocheted outfits for Taco Sauce bottles – bracelets made from safety pins and plastic beads. The opportunities abound. Thanks, I’ll pass. Think I’ll go defrost the fridge.

And then tonight, we get to go up to the rec hall and play Bingo – whoo hoo. Actually, I LIKE Bingo, and I like visiting with the couple we sit with. We didn’t try Bingo the first year, and last year when we decided to play, we were teasing  before we did it, about how we’d come home and laugh about the ‘old’ people and their Bingo. Instead, we laughed about the fact that we liked it! So that’ll be the high point of my day today.

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In Respect

Greeting_card61 I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning "My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

Martin Luther King Jr.

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Greeting_card41After using the phone this morning, I ended my call and just stood there with this big smile on my face. I was thinking about cell phones and how having them has changed communication for me. And I was thinking about how much I love my cell phone!

In the late 80’s, my middle child, Brooke, decided to go back East and be a nanny for a couple of years, before she came home and started college.

As a single mother with one child still at home, money was tight. I had to budget for calls to Brooke and could only afford to call once a month, on a Sunday, (rates were cheapest at that time). We wrote letters and Brooke called in between my calls, but there was a lot of missing going on!

Scott, my youngest, spent summers with his father, and it was the same thing. Just not enough communicating for me. I would just about go crazy while he was gone. I could actually "feel" that his presence was absent from the house. And I could never talk to him enough. (I STILL can’t talk to him enough, though, and he’s 34 years old!)

When Cindra packed up my two grandbabies and drove off in a moving van, back to Oregon in the late 90’s – it was a LITTLE better. Financially, I was doing better and I got an 800 number so that they could call me and I could call them. That worked really well at first, and then Cindra had to cut our calls down to once a week anyway, because my Sugarplum (Cindra’s oldest) wasn’t adjusting well to the separation. (And I DEFINITELY wasn’t adjusting at all – that’s a whole nother post!)

Just as I fought getting ‘call waiting’ and ‘caller ID’, I fought the cell phone craze, too. I was convinced from the beginning that if anyone had a cell phone, they were just trying to show off and act important. After all, didn’t everyone KNOW that only doctors had cell phones?! Then there were more cell phones around all of a sudden, but I was pretty sure that they were all owned by people selling dope! LOL

AND THEN – I got a cell phone. And I LOVE my cell phone. I can talk to whomever I want to, where ever they are, whenever I want to, where ever I am! And I’m not sure that I could have traveled here to Arizona in the winter, the last three winters, without my cell phone. My sister, Caryl, and I talk every single day of our lives. This became even more important to us the last few years, after her husband died. I talk at least every couple of days, to my best friend. (Used to be every day – but she has a man now!) I talk often to my older sister, Jean, and to my sister Quilly, and of course, I talk A LOT, with Cindra, Brooke, Scott, and the grandbabies. Brookie calls nearly daily, sometimes several times a day if something’s going on or she’s sick. I talked to Cindra almost every day while Tom was gone, less when he’s home, but still at least weekly, and more if she’s sick or something’s going on. I talk to Scott at least weekly, and I call and talk to each of his kids. It’s hard to catch Sugarplum – she’s 15  and friends are far more important to her now than her parents, even, let alone Grammy! And R is always doing some ‘sport’ or other. But not too much time ever goes by without my talking to them.

When T and I got married five years ago – all this communicating took him awhile to get used to. He especially could not understand what my sister, Caryl, and I could possibly talk so much about. 🙂 He is used to my family now and just accepts it as a part of us. We’ve always been a family that needs to know where everyone is – and that didn’t change when the kids grew up. (I still worry about them and think they need mothered! And they humor me because I am the mother!) As Cindra says, we are ‘sharers’. And now with the WONDERFUL cell phones – it is all so easy!

The first year we traveled, if we were camped somewhere out of cell phone range for the night, we had to drive out each night to some place where I could get reception and check in with Caryl. She had our license plate number and always knew where we were for the night. Cindra calls me to tell me if they are leaving town for the week-end and won’t have cell service, because she knows if I call and can’t get her, I’ll worry. Scott took his family to Oregon over the Christmas holiday, and I made him call me every couple hours while he was on the road. Well, after all, it WAS snowing. Now, Brookie, I have a little more trouble with! She and Quilly-Sister both believe (and practice) –  ‘It is easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission’ – and they won’t tell me some things until it’s too late to call!

And all of that is why I was smiling. I LOVE my cell phone.

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Greeting_card1 Yesterday we drove to Casa Grande to have lunch with T’s aunt and uncle, who are visiting in Arizona from Ohio. T’s uncle is only 9 years older than T is, making him 73 and the oldest one at the table. At 57 (okay, 58 in March), I was the ‘youngest’.

We had a great time visiting with them – they are very interesting people. His uncle was the head of the Physiology Department at Kent State University until his retirement; they are HEAVY DUTY sports fans, and they tell great stories together – finishing each others’ sentences.

Several hours into the ‘lunch’, however, we were all laughing about the fact that anyone listening to us – would definitely be able to tell what age group we were. The conversation was totally taken over with our health conditions! We had discussed repaired knees, elbows, and eyes, heart tests, gall bladders, and who was taking which statin drugs – and our general disgust with the fact that although we continue to feel twenty five years old on the inside — the outside just can’t keep up anymore. Not that we necessarily feel our age, but we sure feel everything else!

Growing older has definitely been more plus than minus, though. The biggest plus being – faced with the alternative, getting older is pretty damned good! I’ve found a real freedom in aging. And I’ve found ME. Before I was in my 30s, so much of my ethics, morals, religious beliefs, etc., were combinations of home, church, and school teachings – and I think that much of what I felt and thought, was just ‘parroting’ on my part. I started to really ‘grow up’ in my 30s, to question, to evaluate. And I chose my own ethics, morals, religious beliefs, etc., and knew they were MINE. By the time I was in my 40s, I didn’t need as many answers as I had always needed – and I didn’t need to question much any longer. I got that "what is, is". And I got a great freedom. A freedom to just be ME. To not worry about whether or not I dress like everyone else, or act like everyone else. To not worry about what other people think of me, to not have to be a people-pleaser and say ‘yes’ when I mean ‘no’ – to just be who I am, just me.

And it gets better and better. In my 50s I know who and what I am, and most importantly, I like who and what I am. I may not always dress ‘age-appropriate’, (and my sister, Caryl, tells me that wearing my hair in braids and pig-tails is definitely not ‘age-appropriate’ ) and I may not always say and do what other people think I should, and I may not (in some people’s opinion) ‘act my age’ – but the way I look at it, I’m just fine! I’m able to look in the mirror and like who I see there, and I only have one judge to worry about. And He’s a lot higher up than any of those who might be clucking their tongues about me. In fact, anymore, I figure if anyone has a problem with me – it’s just that…THEIR problem.

As I said, this aging isn’t all on the plus side. There are some downs. I can’t shovel outside all day long anymore. (But I can for a while!) Or chop wood. (But why would I want to anymore?) I can’t lift what I used to, run as fast, or as far, – but, boy, am I lucky. Because I still can do all those things – in some form, for a short while.

Still, I’m at a point where I have to write everything down or I can’t remember it. And when I look in the mirror, I see my mother looking back at me. And as much as I like to tell myself that I have ‘laugh lines’, I guess they really are wrinkles. And as much as I like to think that it’s freckles I have on my hands and arms – well, you know, it’s probably ‘age spots’ *cringe*. And as for firm thighs – forget it, that’s been so long ago – I can’t even remember! 🙂

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