Wednesday, February 11, 2015


The older you get, the easier it is to recognize that you are pushing too hard to make something happen.  And that is where we find ourselves this week.

Our lives were getting back to "normal" (whatever that is).  Our daughter and her two sons (ages 4 and 2) had been staying with us.  She had sold her home, and had made arrangements to rent a duplex near us.  The landlord had said it would take a month or two to get the unit ready to rent.  It just made sense that our daughter and the boys should move in with us.  Well, two months turned into nine.  The boys were thrilled.  As Sam Levinson once said, "The simplest toy ever invented, one even the smallest child can operate, is called a grandparent."  After about six months, the adults, however, looking forward to having some space to themselves.  But, I digress.  The kids moved into their own place last week, and we are working at getting back into our normal routines.

Kim has been working hard to fix the leaks, and replace the wall areas that had signs of wood rot.  He is making progress. His expectation was to get the bedroom fixed, replace the carpet, put the bed, the dresser and cabinets back in.  We would head south for a few months, and then come back and he would tackle the living room slide.  My expectation was that it would all be done before we left.  I was disappointed, but trying to be understanding.  We had rescheduled trips to the Wine Ridge RV resort in Pahrump, NV and the River Lodge Resort in Parker Dam,CA four times.  I had planned various routes and stops, depending on travel dates, more than a few times.  We were both looking forward to getting out of the rain in the PNW.

Then, as they say, $hit happens.  Kim wasn't as far along with the repairs as he had hoped.  We got a fabulous quote for removal of a huge tree in our yard that has needed to come down for a few years as long as the work was done within 60 days.  We have windows that needed replacing.  Dental work that needs doing.  But the thing that made us really rethink our plans was that the daycare center that the grandsons go to is closing in less than a month.  It is a scramble to find decent day care at any time, but in the middle of the school year, it is almost impossible.  We just didn't feel we could leave until other arrangements had been made for the boys' daycare.  

So for many reasons, we have chosen to change our plans again.  I knew it was the right thing to do because both Kim and I immediately felt a sense of relief. So much to much more time.  It's a good thing.  It will be even a better thing if we have warmer weather and reduced rain here in the Seattle area!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Saying Goodbye To Parenthood

And I'm crying my eyes out, darn it!

I feel quite different from most RV bloggers whose adventures I read about.  I do not hike. I do not ride bikes.  I don't even socialize very much.  I do, however, watch a lot of TV.  I do this not because I consider myself lazy, but because I really enjoy the medium.  Many people I know are big fans of going to the theatre for movies or live performances.  I prefer to stay home and watch things on TV.

This year we are seeing series finales of quite a few of my favorite shows.  We've said goodbye to Sons of Anarchy earlier this year.  Last night, it was Parenthood.  And yes, I'm a sap; I cried throughout most of the episode.  Such touching moments they were able to capture.  And Max Burkholder, the actor that has played Max, a young boy with Asperger's Syndrome, deserves an award for his performances.  It was a lot of dialogue done in monotone with a straight face, and he captured his character in an outstanding way.  I will miss this program.

Also to say goodbye this season will be The Mentalist and Justified.  So far this season, I've found The Mentalist to be boring.  It is like they lost their original writing team, and have now just taken the easy way out.  I've been able to easily predict what is coming, and I do hate it when that happens.  Now Justified, on the other hand, is looking to give us a great final season.  We are only two episodes into it, but I've enjoyed them both immensely.

I do, however, take great pleasure in knowing that there are many RVers out there who will be enjoying TV this weekend - whether in their own rigs, in the clubhouse, or in a local bar/tavern.  Of course, I'm talking about the Super Bowl.  So I will end this post with a shout out to all the 12ers around the country - GO HAWKS!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hair Care On The Road

Disclaimer:  This is most definitely a chick-post.  Men may want to read for informational purposes only.

When we first bought our 5th wheel, my hair was somewhere between my elbows and my waist.  I most often wore it up on my head with a clip or bunched up in back with a scrunchee.  I'm not a girly-girl.  I hate messing with my hair or fussing with makeup.  Sounds perfect for life in an RV, right?  Well, the problem came my long hair started clogging up drains.  And the next problem occurred when I would get out of the shower.  Why is it my DH always had to be heating water for coffee or tea at the same time I was blow drying my hair.  Yep, you guessed it.  We dealt daily with pop goes the circuit.  Our breaker box is under the refrigerator.  Not easy to get to (at least if you have arthritis in the knees), and hard to see.  So there was always mumbling going on about the situation.  The solution was easy.  The next year, I just cut my hair off, really short.  No hair dryer needed.

This worked very well for awhile.  And then I went to the dermatologist.  She pointed out that I had a precancerous lesion on the top of my hair.  She burned it off - it happened so fast I wasn't sure what she was doing - and told me I needed to be sure to wear a hat when I was outside. But, but, but, but....I don't look good in a hat when my hair is short.  I don't necessarily look good in a hat when my hair is long either, but at least I look better.

As our departure south has been put off due to RV repairs, I decided to grow my hair out.  It is now chin length.  Hopefully it will get to the length where I will just need a bang trim and some shaving around the neck during the time we are gone.  I've always heard that a good haircut is the key.  So here is a plug for my niece, Opal Fitzpatrick, at the Ola Salon in West Seattle.  Best hair cuts I have ever had.  She is also a very talented colorist.  Anyway, I've been discussing with her about what to do when we are on the road.  What terminology do I use so the stylist knows what I want.

It brought up the discussion of how to choose where to get your hair done when you are on the road.  Is it trial and error?  Do you ask other women in the campground?  Do you pick the cheapest walk in place just to get it done?  Curious minds want to know.

We will see how long I am able to maintain my new do.  While I don't think drain clogging will be an issue, there will be time added to my "getting ready" routine, which already takes longer than DH would like.  And we will be going back to "pop goes the circuit" I'm pretty sure.

Do you think this is a silly topic for a blog post?  Perhaps it is.  Perhaps I am making much ado about nothing.  Or perhaps I'm just trying to be the good wife and traveling partner, keeping things easy for the guy that does most of the work.  Or perhaps I am just a tad more vain than I think I am.

As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thousand Trails, K/M Resorts, and RV Park Reviews

Yesterday I received a number of posts from a representative of K/M Resorts and other "anonymous" posters about an entry I had made a few years ago.  The posts I received yesterday addressed comments made from visitors to my blog about experiences with K/M Resorts as well as Thousand Trails resorts.

I'm not complaining as obviously people found their way to my blog and that is good.  (This blog is not a money earning venture - LOL - I think I have made about $25 total from two blogs since 2008.) What puzzles me is why they choose to respond to posts that are more than two years old.  They were not responding to me but to other people who had left comments.  It just struck me as odd.  Or were they just not paying attention to the dates.  Who knows, but I approved the posts because I like to share not only my own opinions, but those of others as well.  I just ask that the posts be kind and respectful.

Today I renewed our zone membership with Thousand Trails.  When we bought the TT Zone Pass last year, we took advantage of the "buy one zone, get one zone free" special.  When I called about renewing, I wanted to make sure I was getting the same deal.  I'm happy to say that I was.  We've looked at upgrading to a different plan.  I'm looking for those memberships that offer 2-3 weeks per park with no time out.  I'm not interested in the free rental cabins or free memberships with ROD or RPI.  We've been exploring buying a "used" membership.  If you are reading this and have any experience with it, I'd love to hear from you.  For this year anyway, our plans are to explore as many of the TT parks in Washington, Oregon, and California as we can.  If we enjoy those experiences, then maybe next year we will upgrade.  Time will tell.

For those K/M Resort fans, I'm thrilled for you if you like their parks.  I was not impressed, and there were not enough parks for the money I was paying.  That was the basis for my decision.  Nothing against K/M at all.  I just prefer the options that TT offered at this point.

Here's a question for you - When did RV Park Reviews change the look of their website?  I find it much more difficult to navigate now.  I'll get used to it, but sometimes I wonder if businesses shouldn't just hired "normal people" consultants to see what they like.  What seems like an improvement to a programmer may be just plain confusing for the normal Joe/Joanne.

And that's my two bits for the day.  Have a good one!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Trip Planning and Packing

Well, I'd love to say I was already packing for our upcoming (fingers crossed) trip down to some warmer weather.  I'm just thinking about packing.  Because I have taken up painting, I now have an easel, paints, brushes and canvases to pack.  I've learned from many full-timers that if you take along something new, you have to leave behind things you've taken before.

I will be leaving behind some books to start.  Considering I have most of my books on my iPad, this is not a big deal really.  What I will have to watch is the hard cover/paper back books I usually carry around on the subject of writing fiction.  Somehow, I have collected quite a few of these books over the years, and I admit that I have really written very little since I started writing a mystery a few years ago.

I've learned I don't need to pack around every DVD I might want to watch.  I have no problem finding things to watch on TV.  We have only camped in a few spots where we could not pick up a satellite signal, and most of those spots had campground provided cable.  We will probably bring along the Boardwalk Empire series that we have yet to watch, and my personal favorite, West Wing.

I have a tendency to bring more pots, pans and kitchen gadgets that I have ever needed.  And more canned goods than necessary.  Therefore, I will be giving serious consideration to watch what makes its way from the house into the rig.  Honestly, we mostly grill our meat and steam our veggies for dinner.  I'm not inclined to try new recipes while on the road.  Seriously, how many pans do I really need.  I hate to cook in general, and I really don't like cooking on the gas stove in the rig.  I save my experimenting for at home.  And speaking of new recipes and experimenting, I posted a recipe for turkey, bean and corn stuffed peppers on my other blog,  I thought it was great.  Nothing I would make on the road, but pretty tasty.

However, my biggest category for overpacking is clothing.  I have always packed for every conceivable situation or weather condition.  But, just like at home, I wear the same favorite clothes, and the rest just hang in the closet.  Do I really need to pack funeral appropriate clothes or fancy occasion clothes in the RV?  If I should find myself needing them, it makes much more sense just to go buy something to wear.  My "northern" clothes consist of jeans or sweats, a tee shirt and sweater with crocs or sneakers.  My "southern" clothes are shorts and a tee shirt, or a sun dress, with flip-flops.  One fleece jacket, one rain jacket, and one pair of rain boots should be more than enough for emergency weather situations.  My husband will be so excited if I can accomplish this.  If I start now to think about what I really want to wear, and plan accordingly, this should be a goal I can easily reach.

All of this because I've taken up painting.  And speaking of painting, here's my most recent:

I think I've come up with the main stops for our trip this spring.  We will be spending a week at the Thousand Trails Wilderness Lakes in Menifee, CA.  Then off to the River Lodge Resort in Parker Dam, CA.  The next stop will be the Wine Ridge Resort in Pahrump, NV.  And we will wind up the trip at Thousand Trails Palm Springs (fingers crossed we will be able to get reservations there).

When you head south from Washington, anytime between November and April, you just never know what the weather will be like.  The Siskiyous could be clear and dry, or covered in snow.  We won't know which route south (I-5 or 101) we will use until we leave.  I have stopping points planned for each route.  Our trip back north will be toward the end of April.  I'm hoping we will be able to explore some of the Thousand Trails campgrounds in northern California and in Oregon on the way home.  At some point, you just have to get home.  For us, it will be because of property taxes and yard work.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things go as planned.  I've rescheduled this trip so many times.  It's not yet January 31st, so as our agreement goes, I am not yet able to nag my husband about when he will get to working on putting the rig back together.  Sometimes I just have to check to make sure my tongue is not bleeding.  Here's to an on-time departure!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Good Books and Great TV and A Little Bit Of Painting

I am generally a "home body" whether we are on the road or at our sticks and bricks home.  And if you have read many of my posts, you know that I am basically a couch potato.  I like the idea of hiking, and I like the idea of swimming, and I like the idea of walking hither and yon, but I rarely do it.  And yes, this makes me wonder if I will ever fit in with full time RVers, because from the blogs I read, you are a busy and physically active group.  Perhaps it is because those of you going and doing actually have something to blog about.  I, on the other hand, blog about couch potato activities, recipes and general musings, especially when we are not on the road.....which we are not now, not that I'm whining.  Okay, maybe I'm whining just a wee little bit.

When I find an author I enjoy, I tend to binge read all their books.  Then I get frustrated when I get caught up to the last (most recent) book.  I'm always on the look out for new authors and new series.  I prefer the mystery genre, and I love books that are set in cities with which I am familiar.  Books set in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Louisiana, California, Alabama, Hawaii and Florida, top my list as those are the areas I have visited.  I can picture in my mind the settings and surroundings that are described.  I've been catching up on some J A Jance books I had missed over the years.  I love all of her series, including Detective Beaumont, Ali Reynolds and Joanna Brady.  I did a binge reading marathon of books by Chelsea Cain, which take place in the Portland, Oregon area.  I'm so glad I discovered her.  I've always enjoyed John Grisham, and it appears that I have missed quite a few of his newer books.  That is where I am finding myself now.

On to TV......Well, Sons of Anarchy has aired its last episode.  I loved those characters.  I know those characters.  I was not enamored of the last season.  However, because it was so wonderfully written by Kurt Sutter and his team, what happened was exactly what should have happened.  I just did not want to say good-bye.

I have to ask though, what the heck is up with the "winter season finale" - at least I think that was the term they were using.  Apparently it is now common to develop an arc, insert a cliffhanger, and make you wait through the month of December to see what happens.  It's not the end of the season, but instead a 4-5 week waiting period.  And some shows only introduced a few episodes before they inserted the winter season cliffhanger.  Can't wait for How To Get Away With Murder to return.  I'm also waiting for new episodes of Scorpion, Madam Secretary and Stalker.  This will be the last season for Parenthood.  I've enjoyed this show in the past, but so far, I'm bored.  I will watch until the last episode, but I have to wonder if the writers have changed or if they just ran out of story line and are trying to wrap things up.  The Mentalist is in its last season as well.  And it is the same thing with the few episodes I've watched this season.  I've got my fingers crossed for the return of Justified, also in its final season.  I love the characters and the way they have been written.

Two shows I have enjoyed in the past, The Bridge and The Divide, I hear have not been renewed.

I hope they don't mess with The Blacklist and The Following!

When I'm not reading or watching TV, or doing the mundane things such as housework, laundry, dishes or cooking, I have been painting.  Here are a few of my recent projects.

What is up this week?  Cleaning off my desk is on the list.  It is usually in a state of organized chaos. Recently it has crossed the line into just plain chaos.  I'm not sure what else, but I'm sure it will include reading, watching TV and painting.  I love retirement!

A Post Holiday Musing

First an RV update:  The infernal leak has been located and patched.  We've had 3 relatively heavy rainfalls (sometimes spanning more than a few days - go figure, we live in the Seattle area), and the patch has held.  No signs of any leaks.  Kim will now begin to put things back together, and he has assured me that if I start making reservations for March and April, I will not have to change them up yet again.  I'm holding him to it.

Now, on to the musings....

Re:  Holiday Traditions

When I was growing up, we had set holiday plans.  It rarely varied.  All holidays were celebrated at our house, with my paternal grandparents.  My mother claimed Christmas Eve to share her traditions.  This meant lutefisk, boiled white potatoes, rutabagas, peas and creamed onions.  This was followed by a drive around the area admiring Christmas lights.  It also meant opening presents Christmas Eve.  Christmas morning, my sister and I were allowed to get up on our own, open our stockings and see what gifts Santa brought.  We just had to be quiet about it.  Eventually the adults got up, and we had breakfast of Yulekaka (Norwegian Christmas bread), scrabbled eggs, sausage and grapefruit.  Then it was off to church.  The rest of the day was spent playing quietly (as it was in those days, children were to be seen but not heard).  Most all of the Christmas Day foods and traditions (roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, broccoli and pecan pie served on Christmas Tree Spode and using the good silver), was determined by my dad's side of the family.  Whether or not my grandfather gave dinner a two thumbs up was what decided if it was a good or a bad holiday.

Of course, in my mind, it was always a good Christmas.  There was no drama.  Everyone got along.  All was good.  In hind sight, I'm guessing my mom would have told a different story.

Once my sister and I grew up and got married and had kids, things changed a little.  My grandparents had passed away. My sister and I both married into large families that had their own established traditions.  My husband had a son from a previous marriage, who always celebrated Christmas at his mother's home.  We started celebrating Christmas with my family the day after Christmas.  It just worked out better for all.  I think my mother appreciated that she could have a relaxed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, go to church without having to rush home to cook, and make sure everyone was happy.

Once my mother was of an age that she could no longer host the holiday celebrations, it landed on my sister and me.  We tried to keep the traditions going but eventually our father had passed away, and our mother was nursing home bound.  We started celebrating just with our own immediate families.  By this time our kids were old enough that we were working to establish our own traditions.  My Christmas Eve tradition is that we will never, ever, have lutefisk in our house again.  Other than that, I have really established any tradition other than a Christmas Wreath jello mold that I serve every year.  We also use the Christmas Tree Spode, but not the good silver (I also don't want to polish silver if I don't have to).

Four paragraphs later, and I'm finally getting to the point of this musing.  How the heck can I have the Christmas of my childhood memories when I'm the one in charge?  I've tried.  It is darned near impossible, not with toddlers around.  And should I mention that it is totally unrealistic?  It is all about expectations, isn't it?

This was the insight I had at Thanksgiving this year.  My grandsons did not care about how I had imagined this perfect turkey dinner, where everyone sat down at the table, said grace, and then raved about my wonderful cooking.  Heavy emphasis on the word "imagined" here.  First of all, I'm not a great cook and if anyone raves about just one dish - I'm usually pretty pumped.  While grace was part of every meal I had growing up, it is not something I've carried through with my kids.  We do have the talk about all the things for which we are grateful, but formal grace has rarely been said.  And finally, I have yet to cook the perfect turkey.  Half of us like it moist and juicy, half of us like it definitely cooked through and through.  The potatoes are never warm, and the gravy turns out only about 50% of the time.  And like my mother, God bless her, I almost always forget to take the rolls out of the oven.  All this happens on its own.  Add 4 grandsons under the age of 5 to the mix, and the whole day is far from relaxed.  They are never all hungry at the same time, nor do they like the same foods, and they seem to find nothing more fun to do than run around the kitchen.  I love my grandsons, and I would never change anything...except maybe my own expectations.

Taking this all into consideration, I decided to try something new for Christmas.  My son and his wife and their two boys, would come to our house at noon on Christmas Day, to be joined by our oldest son, and our daughter with her two boys.  We would have a day of snacks and finger food.  The kids could open their gifts and play.  The adults could munch away and visit.  We used paper plates and paper napkins.  My grandparents would have been appalled.  My mother is undoubtedly applauding my decision to take away all the stress of fixing a meal, and just taking time to enjoy my family.  As the grandsons get older, there will be plenty of time for formal sit down dinners with the Spode and the good silver.  For the next couple of years, it will be munchies and paper plates and no expectations.  Life is good.