Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday Afternoon ... It must be Loomis - still!

Just thought I'd check in with a short post.  Miss Floribunda Flair remains at Future Fleet in Roseville for a third day.  I dropped in yesterday afternoon to see what  they'd found that needed attention.  Interestingly, they didn't find anything other than what the seller had included on the nice spreadsheet he prepared for me.
So, here's the list of repairs / maintenance that should be completed by tomorrow:

  • Engine tune-up
  • Air and fuel filter replacement
  • Transmission service
  • Generator oil and filter change (done at Camping World 2 weeks ago)
  • Recharge the chassis air conditioner
  • P/A belt
  • Replace dual 6V deep cycle batteries
The seller thought it might need transmission hoses sometime in the near future, but Future Fleet said they're fine.  Also, he thought it might need a brake fluid flush and replacement, but they said not for another 3-4K miles.

I'll add all this work and the current mileage indication to the spreadsheet and I feel like I have a better handle on the condition at this time.  Hopefully, the rig will be ready for pick-up sometime tomorrow.  I've been staying in the guest bedroom at the ranch with Lacy and the two kitties; I'll feel more comfortable and less of a nuisance when I move back into my house on wheels.

My new Smart Car, Petunia, has an appointment for installation of her tow bracket on the 7th of August.  I did more research and think I'm getting a fair estimate for the project.  Maybe I could have it done for less, but since this is my first foray into towing a dinghy I'm happy to pay for the assurance that the electrical components will work properly, etc.  Thank you to all who offered advice; I really appreciate it.

One more little 'snag' is that for this long trip I need to buy enough "Dailies" disposable contact lenses for a year, unless I find a spot where I can have them mailed.  In my lifetime I've been blessed with 20/20 vision; but, of course, I now need correction for accommodation due to 'advanced age'(!).  I wear only one contact lens for reading, knitting, etc; but, lately I've noticed a little blurriness when driving and trying to read street signs, etc.  So, this afternoon I went to have my eyes checked to see if there're any changes since my last exam in December 2012.  At that time they'd told me there hadn't been any changes in ten years.  Well, this afternoon the doctor found that I'm developing an astigmatism in my left eye (the one that doesn't use a contact lens), which is causing a slight hindrance in clarity at a distance.  So, tomorrow I'm going to the optician to be 'fitted' for a different type of contact lens, one for astigmatism.  I need to try it for a few days and then order a supply if it proves beneficial.  Because of my affiliation with Kaiser Permanente, it behooves me to get whatever lenses are necessary from them - much less expensive.

Again, no really interesting RV photos, but thought you might enjoy seeing the beautiful pond flowers right outside Bob and Judy's front door .....

Bob and Judy have two lovely ponds on their ranch.  This one is literally outside the front door; the second is in one of the pastures; both are frequented by geese, herons, raccoons, llamas and horses.  This upper pond is FULL of gorgeous vegetation, which Bob thins out about three times a year.  The koi are huge and actually move the plants around while they're swimming.  there are also large-mouth bass in the lower pond - great fishing for grandchildren!

Another shot of the front yard. All boulders are natural and some are absolutely huge.  Gives pause to what may have occurred here a billion years ago!

Here's Lacy managing all activities in the yard.  Lacy is usually NOT a very adventurous canine, on her own.  She's definitely not a loner.  But, here she 'asks' to go out where she monitors the bunnies' hutch, the llamas and the horses to some extent.  These shots were taken after dinner last night.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Morning - Off to the Mechanic We Go

Monday morning - 9AM:

Just dropped off Miss Floribunda(?) at Future Fleet in Roseville.  The gentleman I bought her from had put together a nice spreadsheet of what had been done and at what mileage on the odometer.  And, he also listed what needed to be looked at and estimates of cost.  So, I made an appointment for this morning at 7; and, actually got there at about 7:10.  We went over my list and they'll do a complete inspection and let me know what needs to be done NOW, SOON, LATER, MAYBE, NOT NECESSARY (if there is such a category).

I posted several questions on my Fleetwood Group website and received lots of information and advice from other members; so I feel a little more comfortable than if I were trying to do the whole decision making on my own.  They drove me back to Bob and Judy's so now I just wait to hear what the estimates are before I make any concrete decisions.  I feel a little more selective as I'll be traveling in the US and Canada for the foreseeable future; it's not like driving through Mexico where I didn't always feel I could find good mechanical service.

I've packed a backpack with one set of fresh clothes so the Lacy, the kitties and I are 'camping out' in Bob and Judy's house for at least until tomorrow - and maybe 'til Wednesday.  I'm still waiting for estimates for the Smart Car tow bar.  Hopefully I can get that taken care of this week too.

Let's see; I'll dig around for potentially interesting photos to add to this blog ....

These photos were taken outside of Cusco, Peru in 2010.  I spent almost a month in Peru on a textile tour.  Cynthia Le Count Samake of Behind the Scenes Adventures takes small groups (6 in this group) to wonderfully interesting places to learn more about the history and traditions of textiles.  I've gone to India, Peru and Oaxaca, Mexico with her and have thoroughly enjoyed each adventure.

Cynthia knew this community of indigenous knitters - the men do most of the knitting - and contacted them to meet us to show us their wares.  We arrived at the designated location and watched them hike down the mountainside to meet us.  A few of us speak Spanish, but no go here; these gentlemen speak only a Ketchuan language called Kitchwa (Quechua in Spanish).  Fortunately Cynthia has a wonderful friend in Cusco who speaks several of the 'dialects' of the language group.  She accompanied us and we passed about two hours with the men, learning lots about their knitting and culture.

Most of these villages and communities of indigenous people barter for goods and services - they do not use money.  There are no written patterns for these intricate designs.  Children start learning how to spin with a hand spindle at about 4-5 years of age.  They also learn carding, dying and weaving with a back-strap loom before they're much more than 6-7.  They begin learning how to knit and crochet by sitting alongside an older sibling or parent, watching and mimicking the stitches, patterns and projects.
As you see in the photos, they carry the yarn in a pouch that's located on their side; the yarn is pulled from the ball and goes around their neck and then down to the piece they're knitting.  The knitting needles are made by hand, using wire with one end hooked to form a quasi crochet hook.  For those of you familiar with knitting needle sizes, a size 2 needle is average for knitting a pair of socks; these needles are somewhere in the neighborhood of 00-000 size!  They're knitting about 15-18 stitches per inch!  That's FINE.

A close up of the concentration of these artisans.  All three of these men were married and fathers of several children.  The buttons used for adornment on their hats, vests and clothing came to them by way of the Spanish Conquest; over the centuries buttons have been, at times, used for currency.

Each artisan develops his/her own pattern designs and rarely do they make exactly the same pattern twice.  We spent about three weeks in this area and visited many villages.  In some places we actually each chose one artisan to stay with throughout a day of work.  I spent several hours with a young woman, her 8 month old baby and her younger sister, whom she was teaching to knit.  The women wear very flared skirts; so when they seat themselves on the ground, the skirt becomes a kind of play area for the baby.  Every hour or so, she'd put down her knitting to 'change' the baby - no diaper - she changed the hand knit pantaloons for a dry pair!  Her younger sister, about 10, sat at her side and was working on her own project.  From time to time she'd ask a question or Big Sis would advise her to tear out or make other alterations to her project.  There was nary an untoward sounding order or reply.

In one village where our Cynthia has spent a lot of time, the 'mayor' (called "el presidente") and his wife had named one of their daughters after her.  When we arrived, our Cynthia was anxious to see how much her namesake had grown since last she'd seen her.  When asked, the mayor explained that it was his 6-year old daughter's turn to watch the community herd of llamas and alpacas; so, he took out his trusty conch shell and 'called' her.  Way up the mountainside we could see a little tee-pee type structure; at the sound of the horn out of it popped his little daughter, Cynthia. [She was inside because it was raining - quite hard].  She waved and he signaled her to come down, which she did, to see her Tia Cynthia.  How adorable and how excited she was to see our Cynthia - all six years of her.  Children learn and participate in the responsibilities of the extended family from a very early age - a good reminder of how cushy our kids have it!

Happy Monday All!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday in Bob and Judy's "RV Park"

Saturday 7/27/13

Yesterday the heat wave continued and I ran the air conditioner with the generator - at least until it turned itself off!  It did so because the gas tank level fell below the level to run the generator.  Thank goodness, I knew why it had stopped working so I didn't have to get stressed about that  this time!  However, it was 104 degrees F. (that's 400 C) inside the rig!  I turned the fan on and opened all the windows so the cats wouldn't die; while Lacy and I headed into Bob and Judy's house for a few hours 'til the sun went down.

This morning I got up early, stowed stuff and took the awning down so I could drive the rig to gas it up. We're back 'home' and the air conditioner is on - it's supposed to be a little cooler today and tomorrow .... you know, like only 90 or so!

Yesterday, Judy and I went over to my house and lined shelves,  vacuumed, scoured bathrooms, cleaned the refrigerator / freezer in the kitchen and the freezer in the garage - I had called two cleaning services multiple times, left messages and got NO response.  The renters (Judy's daughter and fiancĂ©) wanted to start moving in; so [thank God for Judy] we got it in an acceptable semblance of order.  My gardener, who does the back yard maintenance, went there this morning and gave the whole back and side yards a thorough spiffing up.  So, I think the Jennifer and Jason are satisfied that it's clean and neat.  As I've mentioned, I retired the Summer of 2011 and have essentially been gone ever since; so things like taking the garage apart and cleaning had to be done.  Well, it's done now.

Since I've been home today I've started weeding out more stuff I stowed in here; my adventure-loving- not-hoarding mentality is kicking in and material stuff is lots less important.  So, I guess I'm going to make more donations to Goodwill Industries - ahhh but it feels good to lighten up.

As I was returning to my Smart Car after lunch with Kerry on Thursday, I heard a little "chirp-chirp," looked up and saw this little guy right over the sidewalk.  He just sat there on the rim of the hanging planter chirping away.  I had my camera in hand and was able to snap these shots.  I'm not, in any way, knowledgeable about many bird species and I haven't looked this guy up; so if anybody knows what he is, please let me know.

 I have purchased a "Birds of North America;" I need to start studying.  Hope everybody has a wonderful last weekend in July 2013 - boy how time flies!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stitchin' Bitches

Today I had lunch in old-town Roseville at Pacific Cafe with my knitting friend, Kerry.  I  met Kerry and Karen about three years ago in a knitting class.  The three of us, and sometimes a fourth, put together a knitting group called "The Stitchin' Bitches."  We met one, and sometimes two times a week to knit away and talk talk talk.  Karen is retired from Sacramento County Social Services and Kerry  is a retired school teacher.

Kerry and I met today [Karen didn't make it] after not having seen one another for two years - due to my wandering.  She and her husband, Jeff, a retired school superintendent, are also RVers.  They live in a lovely Roseville home, but pack up several times a year and head out in their 5th wheeler with their beloved Boston Terrier, Murphy.

We had lots of catching up to do today and we're planning another get-together with Jeff before I leave.
I love my friendship with Kerry; we can talk solidly for hours on end.  Today we weren't even knitting during our visit.  We have lots of interests, including knitting, in common.  Conversation subjects today:  religion, politics, retirement, activities, books - we exchanged delicious reads.  [Actually we both love audible because it's a perfect accompaniment to knitting/crocheting].  We each have varied tastes in reading materials - both of us love history, religion, diverse cultures .... we'll never be able to read as many books as either of us would like!

 Kerry and MP 7/25/13

When I returned to the ranch this afternoon, I made some calls about having a tow-bar installed on "Smarty."  Yikes, Camping World quoted me $1500, which I thought was steep given that I have the Blue Ox RV portion of the apparatus; and, they can't schedule the work until the 9th of August - possibly!  I checked a couple of other places and have one calling me back in the morning; their supplier has the necessary parts but the lady didn't want to order them until the service manager is in - tomorrow morning.  So, think positive thoughts please.  Camping World in Rocklin pretty much has one over a barrel.  I'm hoping it can be done for less than they quoted.

I used Smarty for my errands and lunch date today - and I love her.  She's so darn cute.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Extra Extra ... Read All About It!

Wednesday afternoon:

This news is about a baby - but not the Prince of Cambridge (whose name, I believe, is George).  When I got all the scut work completed I came up with time to actually think about more particulars of my upcoming adventure.  I've been planning all along to install a motor scooter-type bike rack with a ramp on the back of Miss Flair.

A hassle while we were in Mexico was that I was dependent on others for rides - into towns, to buy groceries, etc.  So, I've been doing a little research and decided to try out a Smart Car.  You guessed it! I bought her this morning!  She's very cute and I'm thinking of naming her 'Petunia,' but that's not for absolute sure at this time.

Here are a couple of photos of her next to Miss Flair (permanent name to be determined - along the way).

 She just sidled right up to Miss Flair and looks very comfortable.  There's actually a lot of leg space for the driver and passenger - only enough room in back for three or four bags of groceries.  She has an 'assisted' manual transmission, sun roof, air-conditioning, radio and CD and gets great gas mileage.  She's a 2008 model with only 13K miles.

 She looks pretty content to have joined our family; Lacy was with me when I tried her out - I had to make sure she'd fit in the car!  She gave her approval and away we went - Lacy looking cool, calm and collected as co-pilot.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

An after-thought .....

One of the most tragic things

I know about human nature is that

all of us tend to put off living.

We are all dreaming of some magical

rose garden over the horizon

instead of enjoying the roses that are 

blooming outside our windows today.

The End!

Tuesday evening.....

Yes, today was the final day of packing, disposing, storing, giving away, etc.  The house is empty, save for the things I've purposefully left for the Jennifer and Jason to use and enjoy while renting my house.  I have to admit that I've decided to have the interior of the house cleaned by my daughter's cleaning service; and, I'm having the gardener who cares for my yard do some extra spiffing up of the yard and walkways.  As I've mentioned before, the house is not big - 1250 square feet with small front and back yards.  I'm exhausted and sick and tired of being sick and tired of this project!

I have told Jennifer that they're welcome to start moving things in as soon as the cleaning is done - Thursday I hope.  She's moved some clothing in to the bedroom closets and bought new furniture (interesting bunk beds - a double bed on the lower level and a twin upper - and four drawers built in to the stair system going up to the upper bunk at one end of the piece).  The boys go to school in So. CA but will be here until the end of August and for school holidays throughout the year; they are 8 and 12.

Today was the last trip to Goodwill, where the lady actually hugged me and wished me a pleasant trip; and, hopefully, the last trip to the storage facility for a long time!  Judy and Bob, my hosts here at their ranch, have been wonderfully helpful and have welcomed me as a part of their family.  We 'celebrated' tonight with huge a Shrimp Louie, San Francisco sour dough bread and lots of laughing.  I feel blessed to have them for friends.

So, this afternoon I came back to Miss Flair and just relaxed in air-conditioned comfort with Lacy, Eleanor and Lincoln.  And, I started checking out small towable cars on Craigslist.  Tomorrow morning I'm going to look at a used Smart Car - I've never driven one; but, since I'm really beginning to feel like a full-timer, I think I'd like to consider a tow vehicle.  The one I'm looking at tomorrow is a 2009 with only 13,000 miles on it.  We shall see!

Thought I post some beautiful flower arrangements I photographed a few years ago at the DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  The exhibition of floral works of art, mimicking paintings in the museum's permanent collection ....  The new DeYoung is truly a piece of eye candy - the architecture and displays are marvelous ....


 White Water Falls

Snow Serenity

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday in Loomis and Roseville

7/21/13  8:30PM

I haven't been blogging too much because it seems every day is just more packing, stowing, storing, donating and disposing.  And, we've had an unusually hot couple of weeks, which hasn't been any help at all.

This morning I woke up on Judy and Bob's ranch to these wonderful views from Miss Flair .....

Horses grazing right next to the RV - that's Mindy in the foreground and Pollyanna further back.  Bob and Judy are avid horse people and these beautiful quarter are the results of their care and love.

This is one of their five llamas (pronounced ya-mas) eating leaves from the weeping willow tree at the side of one of the ponds on the property.  I took this photo at about 6:30AM; the other llamas seemed to all be lying down - still.  If I remember correctly, this is 'Geronimo.'

Judy and I drove over to my house early; she drove the ranch truck for more loading of Goodwill and storage stuff.  We worked very diligently for about four hours, and got almost everything either to storage, the RV, Goodwill or the dumpster; then we totally wilted because of the heat - only bout 97 degrees while we were  working.   The house is empty save for some little "stuff" that needs mainly to go in the garbage; and, it certainly needs to be vacuumed and spiffed up.  

I am so tired of this project; all this storage of belongings may be for naught; if I truly love the RV lifestyle, I'll never have room for reclaiming the stuff!  I've even decided I'm going to gradually whittle down that which I felt I "have to have" in the RV.  This is probably the most disenchanted I've ever been with STUFF.  Ugh!

Jennifer and Jason, the renters, started moving some things into the house today; they're very excited and I'm happy to have them there.  I think this may be a win-win situation.  [I've still not received any of the rent owed by the previous renters - I suspect they've forgotten all about owing it!]

I'm exhausted right now, but do want to share some of my "learning experiences with regards to the RV; I'm on a steep learning curve."  More about that in the next blog.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Home Sweet Home At Last

Wednesday the 17th - Kate's due date!

After moving the furniture and a myriad of boxes Sunday I've been taking it a little easier the last couple of days.  I moved into Miss Flair on Monday and drove her to my great friends, Bob and Judy's ranch.  So, we're 'living' in Loomis for the next while.  There're still lots of things to do with the house in Roseville, but staying out here is a real treat .....  Judy and I worked together at Kaiser Permanente; she retired at a much earlier age than me; then, she went right out and found Bob - they've been married  over a year now.  They are like family to me and have been so wonderful during this prep for my upcoming adventure.

 Here is the Chihuahua brigade:  Max, Marty, Dusty and Lily - not necessarily in order of left to right - I'm just beginning to know how to tell them apart.  Bob and Judy, like me, are animal lovers, as you'll notice below

Feeding time in Judy and Bob's wonderful ranch kitchen.

Lush gardens all around the house - four acres of beauty, natural and cultivated.

 They have their own gaggle of geese who live here year round; there are two large ponds where Judy's grandkids fish for big-mouth bass.

 And, here's their new RV park - only one camper.  I'm loving it here; it's so peaceful

This is our view up the drive to the house.  We all have our privacy and togetherness - when we want it.  I didn't get a shot this morning, but Lacy is busy visiting the five llamas and two beautiful riding horses.  Judy has always been a horse fanatic; lo and behold, she met Bob, who is too!  Bob has lived on the ranch for 20 years or more.  When Judy arrived on the scene they began, and have almost completed, lots and lots of building, remodeling, landscaping and beautifying.  It is gorgeous.

 This is the view of the lower pond from taken from my view in the RV.  You can imagine
                     how much irrigation it takes to maintain this green - when the daily temperatures are
                     usually over 100!  Sprinklers are going someplace on the property at almost all hours of
                     day and evening.      

Finally, this is the view of the horse barns and my rig from the house.  I'm getting ready to leave to head to Roseville (about 13 miles) to continue working on the house.  Kari and the triplet girls are going to help today - after we have a nice lunch out somewhere close by.

That's it for now!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Hardest Part of this "PRE-ADVENTURE" is Done!


I'm sitting in my air-conditioned living room resting my tired feet on one of the two sofas I'm leaving for the renters to use.  Other than a few things I'm leaving for their use, the house is bereft of furniture; but it sure has a lot of dust motes!  It looks like it hasn't been vacuumed in two years, but I just did a BIG cleaning about two weeks ago!  Oh well, it'll be a heck of a lot easier to clean an empty house!

Jeff, son, David, son-in-law, and Max, Holland's boyfriend, really helped me immensely with the moving of all the furniture and lots of boxes today to my climate-controlled storage unit - light items, heavy, really heavy, fragile, really fragile, so fragile: "don't put anything on top of this box," etc.  There's still enough space in the storage unit to stow the several more boxes of STUFF I need to clean out of the house, you know, the odds and ends that turn out to take up about ten more boxes; but my tolerance for packing, lifting, moving, arranging, etc. is at a new all-time low; so I think lots of what's left is going to be headed to Goodwill Industries!

After loading the 17-foot U-Haul to the gunnels and moving the contents to the storage facility; when we got back home, David and Jeff just about completely filled it again with furniture, art work / paintings, etc. that David drove to their house in El Dorado Hills.  Jeff and Alice loaded up their car with lots of STUFF and Alice will be back down this coming week to commandeer more.  Ostensibly, my relatives are 'borrowing' various and sundry stuff - Hmmm - I'm not sure I'll ever see this stuff in a house of mine again!  David will come tomorrow morning, with the U-Haul, so we can return it by 11:45.

One thing I hadn't mentioned in an earlier post was that this morning at 7:30, Kari's triplets (Spencer, Tate and Avery - age 13) and Jeff's twins (Malia and Samantha - age 13 too!) competed in their first ever triathlon.  So, that's how we started the moving day.  It was held at Rancho Seco.  Yup, that's the old nuclear power plant about 35 miles south-east of Sacramento ..... "The plant operated from April 1975 to June 1989 but had a lifetime capacity average of only 39%; it was closed by public vote on 7 June 1989 (despite the fact that its operating license did not expire until 11 October 2008) after multiple referendums." [wikipedia].  

It's now the really beautiful Rancho Seco Recreational Area with a lovely lake and a very nice RV park I might get to one day .....  Here's a slide show if you're interested ...

I left my house at 6AM and would have been at Rancho Seco by 6:45, but my iPhone GPS took me on a merry goose-chase through Rancho Marietta (about 15 miles out of the way - and back) before heading to Rancho Seco!  So, the gun went off for the swim as I was walking to the start - no photos of the start!

All five of our crew did very well - as I've mentioned before, both my daughter, Kari, and my son, Jeff, are Ironmen several times over.  Kari owns a triathlon club, EPIC TRI, and trains some really incredible athletes; it looks like the next generation of super athletes is in the making .....

Swim - about 100 yards in the lake
Above is tiny Samantha (left) and very tall Avery (hand on cap)  coming out of the swim

This is Tate making it out of the swim - with that great smile on her face

Change area - goggles off, bike shoes and helmets on and off they went for the five mile bike ride

 This  is Avery - helmet askew but in fine form at the beginning of the bike portion

Tate is always happy and smiling - coming into the finish of the bike ride.
Alice (Malia and Samantha's mom) is on the left taking photos

Finishing up with a one mile run...
This is Spencer - our only boy - coming up to the finish line at the end of the event.  Great job, Spence.  Kari's cheering on the left and Jeff on the right.

                This is Samantha who runs like the wind - and is so competitive - she can outrun just about 
anyone anywhere near her age - at almost any distance!

Cousins and BEST FRIENDS, Malia and Tate, finish holding hands so one wouldn't beat the other.

Unfortunately, I left my camera bag with back up battery in the car - this battery must be faulty because I 'd charged it last night but it only lasted through about 20 photos.  Then, like the technologically challenged person I am, I remembered at the very end of the awards ceremony that I could be using my iPhone!!!  DAH!
 This is what the Rancho Seco Nuclear Reactors look like today - in the middle of a vineyard!

Last but not least, a couple of photos taken at an earlier age
L-R:  Tate, Spencer and Avery - 6 months

Christmas 2008
L-R:  Abby, Malia, Alice, Jeff, Mimi - Samantha sitting in front of her dad holding Bella.
This photo was taken the week before Christmas in Cottonwood, CA

I'm one happy Mimi - these kids are great!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hot Saturday Afternoon


Another down-sizing and packing Saturday.  Today I spent more time stowing things in my RV.  I think I'll 'move in' tomorrow after the crew - my son, jeff,  son-in-law, David and granddaughter's boyfriend, Landon - moves my furniture and heavy boxes to my storage unit.  I met with the renters this afternoon to go over the Rental Agreement in detail; we're all set.  After tomorrow's hardest part of the move is finished, I'll have about 12 days to continue with the down-sizing, stowing, storing, giving away, etc; and, I'll give the house a good cleaning so Jennifer, Jason, Joshua and Justin can move into their 'new home.'

I haven't mentioned, I don't think, but I've really enjoyed being home for this couple of months; I've finally been meeting my neighbors.  When I originally moved in I was still very much participating in the working world and, although my commute was short, my hours were long.  So I didn't really get to know any of my neighbors other than to say 'hi' and 'how are you?'  Since I've been home from my Mexican adventure, I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting and greeting some of the nicest people - my neighbors.  Of course, having Miss Flair sitting in front of the house is cause for friendly banter, as is walking Lacy; and oh how she loves visiting with everybody on the street.

A couple of the neighbors have asked if I'd give them info about my blog so they can follow our adventures, so this afternoon I made up some new calling cards [are they still called that]?  I made about a hundred so I'll have them when asked along my way......

Such interesting things come up since I have the time to chat with people.  I'd noticed a neighbor who lives across the street for some time, even before I left for Mexico.  We never had any conversation other than saying, "What a nice dog!" when we were both out walking our pets.  In the last couple of weeks, Kim and I have started having short little blips of conversation; today I happened to mention this blog and she asked if I'd give her the name so she can follow my adventures.  And, while we were talking she mentioned that she'd written a book that was published in 2009.  Wow, an author!  I said I'd love to read it so she gave me a copy; I know what I'll be doing this evening.  Everybody is interesting. I just have to participate ....

I've also met the new owners of the house next door, Marty and Susan, who bought it as an investment property; they're there often doing lots of yard work, etc.  Then there's Bobbi, the neighbor two doors away,  a widow who moved here a year or so ago from Arizona after her husband passed away; her kids and their families wanted her to be closer.  What a beautiful, and very lovely, lady.  

I have to say that some of the friendliness I'm encountering probably has to do with the fact that I'm more 'present.'  I had a little reminder on my desk at work ...... "When I get all tied up in myself, life becomes a very small package."  How true that was - now my life is a much larger package.

Back to the down-size tossing!  Happy week-end!


Thought I'd add a couple of photos ....

Bed's made - that's all that matters - almost!

We'll being saying "Bye bye" to our Toyota Camry for quite a while
 I've had the same license plate since 1981!

Lincoln packs light - and he's ready to go!
 Of course, Eleanor is waiting in the safety of the bedroom in the house.  She'll be transported to the RV and probably won't go outside during the entire adventure.

Moonrise over Roseville 
Thanks to Kevin and Ruth for the idea

Because the moon is such a tiny speck between the redwood and magnolia trees, I took another just to prove that it's really there.  My moon looks a lot like Kevin and Ruth's in Saskatchewan! 

Good night.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Remember, Mary-Pat, Butterflies are Free!!!!

Friday, July 12th - 3PM

I did it! I actually starting work in the  garage about 7:30 AM this morning - in the cool, cool, cool of the morning.  I've headed out there innumerable times in the last two weeks; but I can scarcely get started and then it's too darn hot!

 There are several special-interest areas in which only I can sort through, make decisions and piles and save, toss, give away, donate or sell the results.  Let's see, there was my personal clothing, dishes, knick-knacks, art work, furniture, rugs, household equipment (who really needs five vacuum cleaners?), sporting equipment, books (I've already mentioned the number of cookbooks), cooking equipment - Cuisinarts, blenders, ice cream makers, slow cookers, fast cookers, baking pans, casserole dishes, pie weights, rolling pins, bowls, spoons, toasters, raclette party cooker, tagine, frying, stewing, boiling pans, Ebelskiver pan, yogurt maker, cherry pitter, coffee pots (3 large), coffee serving pots (3), boxes and boxes of family photo albums and loose photos, etc.  You name it - if it's an interest, a hobby or a need-to-know that I have, I have every conceivable accoutrement imaginable.  Once again, it's all just STUFF!

Today I really laid in to the collections of STUFF previously relegated to the garage and unseen by these two eyes for at least two years.   I retired at the end of August, one year and eleven months ago, left for Guatemala a week or so later, and have essentially been 'on the road' ever since.  Not seeing all of it for all that time and I didn't die or even get sick missing THINGS!

So, the BIG project for today was going through about a million skeins [balls] of yarn, partially finished knit and crochet projects, pattern books and knit/crochet magazines, needles (circular, straight, long, short, single and double-pointed, hooks, special scissors, measuring instruments, row
counters .... the list goes on.  [I actually learned how to knit and crochet as a small child.  I remember carrying crocheted booties projects in my lunchbox to grammar school.  We lived on a little ranch and I had several cats who, of course, needed booties and bonnets.  I made lots of "interesting" things back in those days; one project was a pair of knitted argyle socks for my dad.  I knitted the first sock in navy blue with pink, white and baby blue in the argyle pattern; then I got tired of that color scheme so knitted the second sock in light blue with navy blue, pink and white in the argyle pattern!  My retired Army Colonel Dad actually wore those socks - proudly - I think mainly when he mowed the lawn!]

Well, I sat on a foot stool amongst umpteen plastic bins of yarn and made decisions as to what stays / gets tossed / is given away or goes with me on my adventure.  As it stands right now, I'm taking about four projects to work on along the way; three large plastic bins of very valuable yarn will go into storage; I gave a large Hefty bag of yarn to my neighbor, Bobbi, who's daughter is teaching her granddaughter to crochet; and, I gave two Hefty bags of yarn to Goodwill Industries.

Kari showed up about an hour ago with Avery, Tate (girls of the triplets), Malia and Samantha (twins of my son, Jeff); we all loaded Kari's SUV with donations that we delivered to Goodwill Industries.  I feel so much lighter and freer!  Maybe a little like this Blue Morpho Butterfly .....

                             File:Blue morpho butterfly.jpg
Tomorrow morning - again early - I'll venture out to the garage again to tackle dining entertainment, cooking and baking equipment.  Does anybody need pie or cake pans?  Tablecloths?  Giant glass salad bowls?  50 - 75 buffet plates and goblets?  Oh, I need another bowl of ice cream!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Finally getting to the garage .... "Freedom" is just a couple of weeks away ...

Butterflies are free .....  Check out these beautiful creatures

As I've gone through the house, separating wanted, needed, maybe, maybe not, this stays in the house, this goes into storage, that goes into Miss Flair, I've moved stuff around and about and relegated mainly to the garage for triaging (emergency medical terminology - once a nurse, always a nurse!)  Consequently, as the house becomes bare, the garage has become cluttered.

Today I started on the job of getting through lots of stuff, in the garage, for dispersement.  I can't say it looks clean and neat at this point because that wouldn't be truthful; but it does look like I'm making a dent.  And, I have to admit I'm tired and hot and ready to get this part of the adventure over with!  Also, my energy level goes down so rapidly in the heat; I'll bet I drink two gallons of liquids during and afternoon of packing and sorting work.  I'd love to be able to get a couple of hours done in the early AMs but here I am at almost midnight and it's just starting to cool down enough to turn off the AC in the house to sleep in peace (and natural air) - so it's hard to get up at about 5 when it's really pleasant outside and I have so much more energy.

The new bike rack was delivered UPS - it's actually a scooter rack with a ramp; but to attach it to the hitch, I need to remove the RV portion of the Blue Ox dinghy hitch - and I don't have a key for the lock.  I checked with the previous owner and she thinks the key might have gone with their tow vehicle they sold a couple of years ago.  This afternoon I dropped by my local locksmith to see if they'd come to help me out without having to drive the rig to their location.  No, they'd rather work on it there; so, I'll batten down the hatches (put stuff away) and drive it there tomorrow to have the lock re-keyed so I can then mount the new rack. I bought this rack to accommodate my Schwinn electric bike as it's too heavy for a regular bike rack.  I'm hoping that the electric bike will be sufficient for a little exercise and going to the grocery store when I'm parked somewhere  for any length of time.  We'll see how it works out.

Sunset, Balmorhea State Park, Texas - April 27, 2013

"Change of Life - Style" ... Update

Thursday morning ....  These last few days have literally flown by.  I've had help with packing and regardless of how much STUFF I'm giving away to friends, family and Goodwill Industries, etc., there are still boxes and boxes that are now, or will be going, into the storage unit.  My wonderful friend, Judy, was here all day yesterday; she packed boxes and boxes of breakable things and we delivered about 15 boxes of books, dishes and knick-knacks to the climate-controlled storage unit that's located about four miles from the house.  We were exhausted, hot and maybe a little smelly by the end of the day, but I love her for her enthusiastic help.  And, we had several ginger ale and coke breaks; as well as a nice big hamburger break at Mel's Diner in Roseville.

My daughter, Kari, newly returned from their vacation in CancĂșn, advises, "Just give away all those cookbooks.  You'll never miss them"  I just cannot do that.  As I continue publishing this blog I like to gradually jot down self-relavations as they come to me.  One I'll share now is that I read cookbooks i much the same fashion as most people read a good novel.  I love recipes and, in some ways feel gratitude, in that I can simply read a recipe and know whether or not I'd actually like the taste of the dish!  I count that as a developed talent, after having read umpteen trillion recipes and actually cooked / baked up about half umpteen trillion!

My cookbooks, for me, are like that special novel you read thirty years ago and still think about it today.  Or maybe it's the special book that some people like to re-read over and over throughout the years.  I don't very often re-read a novel, but I certainly do cookbooks.  Additionally I do love to cook and bake and am forever trying new and interesting concoctions as I wander through those books and the World.

Back to the project at hand - moving.  Yesterday some of the new kitchen appliances arrived; they've hanging out in the garage until the mini-remodel of the kitchen commences later this week, I hope.  I've decided that I'm going to move into Miss Flair this weekend, it'll become quite uncomfortable in the house with no cooking / eating utensils and dishes, and very little in the rest of the house too.  I have four guys lined up for Sunday, along with a U-Haul truck and a pick-up.  They'll move my bedroom set, dining room set, large entertainment console and the rest of the boxes to the storage facility.  Then I'll have almost two weeks to clean, with the help of a fantastic daughter, daughter-in-law and friend, Judy.

Today I'm here solo, tasked with separating and packing clothing and all my knitting and crocheting inventory and supplies.  These are tasks I can't delegate as I need to make the decisions.  I also need to do a few errands, a couple of merchandise returns, renting the truck, having my new bike rack installed on the rig, etc......

Here she is, in the heat of the day, waiting patiently for the commencement of our adventure
Most of the family has seen her now - they're very happy for me and are already coming up with suggestions regarding meeting up with us at some point(s) during our adventure

Mimi and Addison, age 18, Oaxaca, Mexico, 2010
Addison is my granddaughter who recently graduated from Loyola Marymount University this year. she's currently setting up her first "on-her-own" household in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she's begun her contract with "Teach For America" after having received her teaching credential in a whirlwind 6 week course at Arizona State University in Tempe.  I'm so proud of this young woman.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Am I Doing the "Right Thing?"

Even the well-thought-out ideas for new things, endeavors, experiences in one's life conjure up a few moments of DOUBT, right?

I'm, so far, very happy with the decision to rent my house, buy a new RV and get ready to head out for all the adventures and experiences that are OUT THERE.  Each time I go online, my Safari browser flashes some recent headlines from the New York Times.  Thought all you full-time RVers might enjoy this article....

YIKES - New York City

Fleetwood Flair Names .....

Monday PM:

My young friend, Danielle, came this morning and packed about 8 or 9 boxes of dishes, knick-knacks, wall decor, etc.  She's coming back tomorrow for more of the same; it's starting to look pretty sparse in here - bare cupboards, walls, closets, etc.

I'm taking a moment to start thinking about possible names for "Miss Flair," the interim name I've been using.  My good and long-time friend, Dee, who I caught up with in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico earlier this year, has suggested the name, "Floribunda."  In his email this morning, he said ....

"Got to do better than 'Miss Flair' for a name.  That's like naming your cow 'Bossy' or your dog 'Pal'.   A rig for outrageous travels needs an outrageous name."

So I've been sitting here thinking about 'flower' names and their meanings; here are a few I've come up with in addition to Dee's "Floribunda" - referring to 'many flowering roses' ....

2)  Flora's Bell - or Flora-belle - without pretentiousness
9)  Orchid - mature charm

10)  Magnolia Flair

11)  Adeona - Roman goddess of travelers and journeys

12)  Ms. Flair (different than Miss Flair)

I have a couple I particularly like, but I thought I'd ask for opinions.  I'm also open to more suggestions.  I'd thought of giving a butterfly name - after the name of my blog - but haven't found one that's just right...

First "Issue" with Miss Flair and Packing Underway .....

Monday AM
Yesterday I started packing in earnest.  Quinn and Landon relieved me of a car-load of mostly kitchen and dining room things; that is, after they treated me to a delicious lunch at The Yard House restaurant. I mainly packed cook books in small boxes; but they're still so heavy!

This morning I've hired a young woman to come and pack for three hours or so - she'll be carefully packing all my travel mementos from a long travel career!  I'm hoping that, within this next week, I can whittle down to only the things I'll be taking with me in my RV.  The new range, oven, hood and sink will be delivered Wednesday and the kitchen remodeling will be underway.  I've promised the renters I'll be completely out by the 26th - whew!  I'm glad I've programmed in only a 160 mile jaunt to my son's house where I'll park for a few days or so to get used to my new RV lifestyle.

Oh, speaking of Miss Flair, when I drove her home from Camping World I left the headlights on when I parked - first learning issue.  There's no warning that the lights haven't been turned off - so yesterday, no battery, not even a sound when I turned the ignition key!  I waited until this AM to call AAA for a jump-start and they should be here any time now!  I'm so happy this happened in my own front yard and not in some wilderness area of National Forest!

The next big decision-making and packing or disposing of 'stuff' will be my knitting and crochet cache, my clothes, and my office stuff.  I like to function as electronically as possible; but, I know there are some paper records I need to have at my disposal; and, I'll need a few things to make a little office in the RV.  Suggestions for things to take in the RV are welcomed.

10:30 AM - AAA showed up in just over 30 minutes and charged the battery.  I left the motor running for about 45 minutes as the battery had been completely dead; then turned it off, waited about a minute and turned it back on - Yippee!  All better!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Miss Flair's New Back-up Camera

Sunday PM

Rita asked this morning if I could post some photos of the new back-up camera I had installed yesterday at Camping World in Rocklin, CA. so here goes ....

The unit is Voyager WVOSS11 Digital Wireless Observation System, featuring WiSight [trademark] technology, by ASA Electronics in Elkhart, IN.

 I had thought they should mount this on the dash, but the installer said it would be easier to see and less invasive to install as you see it here.  I'm glad he suggested it as it's very convenient, yet unobtrusive.

 The little camera and microphone is mounted right in the center back of the rig.  The microphone picks up voices telling you to "Stop now!" and I also noticed yesterday that, while I was on the freeway, I heard a highway patrol siren lots sooner than I normally do!  [He was just passing!]

And, here's a close-up of the camera on the rear.
It was $649 [regular price $899] and $89 [regularly $99] for installation.  Oh, I notice on the invoice, there are a couple of other charges for clamps, protective cover and sealant [about $20 for all].  Some of the wired units have multiple cameras and the monitor has the ability to have split views.  They are very expensive and I'm sure very nice for some of the really long / big rigs; but we're talking 25 feet here!
It's a color monitor and the picture resolution seems very clear to me; I haven't tried it at night yet; I hardly ever drive the rig after dark.