Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Happy Campers 2/24/16

Hello again,
This will not be a long blog, as I have so much to do today, that I must keep it short.  I'd first like to thank everyone for the many nice comments I have been receiving this week about our blog postings.  

There is so much that is wonderful about living in our RV, and being able to stay wherever we wish to.  Like many others, I sometimes take our many blessings for granted, and we should never do that.  I recently received an email that talked about what happens in heaven when we pray.  It started with a tour of the busy departments that receive and sort and process prayer requests.  Then it went on to the room which was designated to receive the acknowledgements of the blessings that had been granted.  There was very little going on in that room.  That is, of course, sadly true.  Maybe we ARE grateful for all the many blessings we receive, but do we always take the time to thank God for them?  Too often we don't.  And do we often SHARE these blessings with others who might also need them?  Again, I doubt if any of us does that as often as we should.  Most of us wake up each morning to a beautiful world, filled with sunshine (especially here in southern California) warm weather, and surrounded by nice people.   

Most of us have access to food, water, clothes, and shelter, so we can shower, dress, and have breakfast.  Not all people are as fortunate as we are.  Before we came here last week, I had the opportunity to take some pictures of the beautiful sunsets in the Palm Desert area,.  The sky is very clean and the sight was fantastic, as you can see.  
The second picture is not a great shot, but it is a picture of our dear friends Mike and Gail Alexander, and their baby Coco.  We met them over a year ago at the FMCA Rally, where she lectured on, and sold space savers for people living in RVs.  We share many of the same views and get together whenever we can at area Thousand Trails parks.

We are now, as you know, back at Wilderness Lakes and will be here until March 8th.  We are very happy with the site we found, and have enjoyed the nice neighbors we have had here.  As I have probably said before, if we were to get a bad neighbor, all we would have to do is move to another site, but that has yet to happen!  Our neighbor here was a man named Ron Knecht, from Washington state, and his four cute dogs.  Each day he would take off on his adult trike, with the four dogs happily running along side of him.  By the time he would return, two dogs would be riding in the basket on the back, and only two were still running.  LOL.  I guess we know which ones had more energy.
Jim took this picture early this morning since Ron was leaving today.  He is heading north, and will be staying at the Thousand Trails Preserve in Manteca, CA. before returning to his home in Washington soon.  We were glad to make his acquaintance, and we exchanged email addresses, so we can keep in touch.  That's what makes RVing such a great way of life.  

Last night we took these pictures of the beautiful sunset here at the park.

It is incredible how beautiful a sunset can be, and how different each one can appear.
Anyway, these are some of the blessings we enjoy each day: good weather, good friends, a great home, wonderful pets, family, good food to eat, and a warm bed to sleep in.  Life in America may not be perfect, but there is NO place better! That's all for today.  Stay well, and enjoy life.  It's a great blessing.  I hope you won't squander it.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Back to Wilderness Lakes Again

Hi Folks,
I was told that my last post was too long, so I will try to keep them shorter from now on.  Thanks for any feedback as I hope to keep improving this blog, with everyone's help.  I might as well also ask if I include too many pictures in my posts.  

Our drive from Palm Desert to Menifee was without problems, and the weather was delightful.  I don't know if I've ever posted pictures of the Dinosaurs out near the Morongo Casino, but I got some fairly good shots that day, so here are a couple of them.  Is that a sight to behold or what???


I have had a few people ask me some RV questions, as to what products we like to use.  A friend of ours likes to clean the holding tanks with a mixture of Calgon and Dawn dish detergent.  We did try this routine, and were not completely satisfied with it.  We were also concerned that the detergent killed the useful bacteria that works to keep down odors in the tanks.  We have tried many products, but find that what WE consider to be best is a granular product called Happy Camper.  I believe it contains enzymes that destroy odor and keep our tanks clean and free of foul smells.  For any campers who wish to try this, I'm quite sure you can find it online and at many RV supply stores.  Nope, we do not sell it, or any other products at this time.  Maybe we should start selling some things to supplement our income, but as yet we do not. It is most economical to buy Happy Camper in the large size tub, as it lasts a long time, and the cost per ounce is lowest in the larger size.  It does not contain any formaldehyde and the label says it is organic, so that should be good.  I know some campers pay a lot to buy the RV toilet paper rolls from places like Camping World, but we have been saving quite a bit of money by using Angel Soft tissue, which can be gotten at any grocery store or, of course at Wal-Mart.  It is safe for use in septic tanks, and RV tanks.  We have never had any problems with it causing the blockages you can get with some other brands of tissue.  I think that's enough potty talk for today.  LOL.

Some of our friends do not use a regulator on their incoming water when they are hooked up to city water in local camp grounds.  Jim feels the use of a regulator is very important to avoid the risk of rupture of inside pipes if the park were to have problems with too much water pressure.  We don't want to come home to find our motor home flooded and the dogs floating around on the couch!  

Here's a tip on jewelry storage.  I used to carry a jewelry box, but in travel it always got tipped over and dumped my stuff all over the floor of the closet.  We use the Command strips to secure many things to walls, etc. so I got the idea of putting several of the Command Hooks in two rows on the inside wall of my closet.  I strung some string elastic (you can get it in any sewing supply department) from one hook to the next and on to the last hook on the lower row.  Now I can hang earrings over the elastic, and I hang necklaces and pendants from the hooks on the top row.  This system has worked like a charm for over a year now!  And it cost me less than $10.00 to do it.  
I think I might add a few more hooks under the elastic since I have added more pairs of earrings since I put this up, but it works even as it is.  In the other side of my closet I put up more hooks for Millie's necklaces too.  She is such a fashion-ista!!! 

Last item for today:  people ask me what place we like best of the places we have visited.  I don't think I can answer that, because every place we have been has been wonderful and exciting for different reasons.  However, I would like to remind people that if you are on the east coast, I would say you really SHOULD visit the Tear drop Memorial in Bayonne, New Jersey.  If you are not familiar with this, I know you can find it with a Google search.  It was really awe inspiring.  Another place that was very inspirational for us was the Loretto Chapel in Sante Fe, New Mexico.  I can share more travel highlights in future posts.  Well, that's all for today folks.  Stay well, stay active and enjoy life.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day to One and All

We would like to wish everyone a very happy Valentine's day.  However, we do not feel anyone needs a seriously over-commercialized day to show your love for that special person in your life.  Please remember that none of us are promised that we will be here tomorrow, so we should treat each day as if it might be our last.  If you haven't told someone how much they mean to you, please do it now.  If you have been harboring hard feelings against someone, let today be the day you let the bad feelings go, and make amends.  If you've been meaning to call someone and you just haven't gotten around to it, TODAY is a good day for that too.  And what about those who don't have a special person in your life?  There is no better day than today to be a friend to someone.  If you think about it, there might be someone who could use help with something they can't do by themselves.  Maybe you could take dog or cat food or a bag of cat litter to the local animal shelter.  Maybe you could stop by a pet store and buy a few pet blankets, or maybe you can make blankets for the shelter.  If you can knit, crochet, or sew, maybe you could make blankets or baby bonnets to take to the pediatric unit at a local hospital.  Doing any act of kindness will have many benefits:  first is the benefit it provides to the recipient; second it should make YOU feel better about yourself; and third, you just might meet a nice person who will want to get to know a nice person like you a little better.
On Monday we drove out here to Palm Desert for our required week out of Wilderness Lakes.  It was a pleasant and problem free drive.  I had not yet downloaded the pictures I took on the drive, so I wanted to include one of them now.  Sorry about the speed limit sign, but this shows the beautiful sky and the snow that we are happy NOT to be too close to.

In the past I have mentioned high winds out here in the desert, and some people were afraid that they wouldn't want to have to put up with that.  I'm sorry if I gave anyone the wrong impression of that.  Most of the time we have spent here has been warm and pleasant and free of any terrible winds.  This past week the day time highs have been in the mid to upper 80's and the over night lows on the 50's.  That is grand as it is pleasant to sleep without it being too hot, and the days are warm enough that some folks have been enjoying the swimming pool.  Unfortunately for Jim, the weather change (from the cooler weather in Menifee to the warmer weather here) resulted in him catching a cold.  I can't remember if I have written about our Himalayan Salt lamps before, but we really believe in the benefits they provide.  Before we bought our first one, Jim had at least four bad colds a year, and they most often lasted about 7--10 days.  Since we got these lamps, he averages one cold every two years, and they never are severe, nor do they last more than 4 days.  I used to have migraine headaches at least every 4--6 weeks and they could last as long as 7 days.  I can't even remember when I last had a migraine headache, since we invested in these lamps.  
 This is the one we have in our bedroom.  We never turn it off.  It also serves as a nice night light too.
 The second one sits on our dining room table, as anyone who visits us knows, and we never turn it off either.  They can be powered using 4 watt or 7 watt bulbs.  Don't use anything more than that.  We use the 4 watt bulbs.  They don't use a lot of electricity, and don't give off too much heat.  But we believe they do us a lot of good health-wise.  You can buy them at Wal-Mart.  We gave one away to a friend who really needed it, so we bought the one for our dining room at Wal-Mart.  I have also seen them at Rite Aid drug stores, and you can look them up and order them online.  I encourage anyone with problems like respiratory ailments or allergies to check them out, and I believe that if you get one for every room that you spend a lot of time in (like bedroom and living room) you will find that you will feel much better.  One person with terrible allergies that we gave one to, thought it was nonsense, but she humored me by using it in her bedroom.  Months later when the bulb burned out, she didn't replace it for a few days...............then she called her husband and told him not to come home from work without new bulbs for the salt lamp!!!!  It took her only 48 hours to find out how much it was helping her, and now she has salt lamps in EVERY room of her house!  

Today is our last day here before we go back to Wilderness Lakes tomorrow.  We woke up to a gorgeous day!  The sun was shining, the sky was clear and bright blue and it just seemed like everything was as it should be.  After I walked Millie I came back to get my camera, and took some pictures of the view here in the park and some of our neighbors.
I'm the shadow in the first picture.  LOL.  The little travel trailer across from us is just soooo cute.  On the right side it says Ooh lala, and has little pictures of the Eiffel Tower on it.  They have a purple E-Z Up with a purple print fabric privacy curtains around it. 

Next to "Frenchy" is this cute camping arrangement.  On top of their SUV, there is a platform with the tent set up on top of it.  There is a couple and a young boy staying in that one.  Behind it is a ladder to climb up to the tent.  I am waaaaaay too old to have to do that, but it's nice that they have a way to get out as a family and visit new places.   
 The next site from the tent campers is where I saw this cute flag.  It reflects my belief, so I had to take a picture of it too.
 This row of motorhomes, and fifth wheel trailers is across from us in the last row of the park.  Can you see the screen room outside the one on the far right of this picture?  It is predominantly black, with black curtains around the screen room.  They seem to value their privacy much more than any desire to socialize with any of their neighbors.  Seems sad to me, but we respect their wishes.  They were here when we came here last month, so I think they are long-term renters.  They could be ill or dealing with a family or personal problem, so we would never bother them, and I don't choose to judge them in any way.  As you can see, the sky is blue and the clouds are few!  

Today we went to the College of the Desert where our dear friends Gail & Mike have a booth each week for their sidewalk sales.  I had no idea how HUGE this event is!  Wow we walked and walked and walked, and still didn't find them.  Finally I called her, and she stood out in front of her row, until she saw me, and we got together.  She had told me that the man with the booth across from her was selling really nice small area rugs.  I just had to see them. 
I wish I had taken my camera so I could have taken pictures of all of them..and  I wish I could have bought about four of them.  This is the one we bought.  They had one with puppy paw prints, and another with a fire hydrant, dog bone and a set of paw prints.  They also had a really beautiful rug with two white folding chairs on the beach looking out towards the water.  I really, really liked that one, and I might have to figure out where we could put it, and have Gail pick it up for me.  It was so peaceful and beautiful.  We also got some new 
pillows for on the couch.  They are made of a faux suede, in blue, and I think they really look nice.  I was going to throw out the old pillows with the color block design, but once I put the new ones on the couch, I decided they look OK together, so we kept them too.  We were able to catch the tram for a ride back to the parking lot to get our car.  It's been a very nice day today.  Tonight I'm making a nice dinner of New York steaks, baked potatoes and green peas for us.  Not a bad way to end our Valentine's day.  We hope everyone is having a nice day, and many more to come.  Keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down, as Walt Wille used to say.  Best wishes and blessings to all.

ps.  Here's one more thing I forgot to say.  Yesterday we went to the wine and cheese social at Mike Thompson's RV sales (here in the park).  It was very nice.  Then we stopped to see Gail & Mike before we came back home.  We were going to go to the Valentine's dance, but once we got back home....we decided we would just as soon stay home with our furry kids, so we didn't go out after all.  That's all folks!!!!   

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February 9, 2016 in Palm Desert

Hello everyone, 

I need to share some information, but before I do, I wish to give you some background.  If you followed our blog of our travels last year, you know we went back to New York state in July.  Our first stop was at the Elks lodge in Niagara Falls.  We went there because we wanted to visit Jim's older brother Norman, who was living in an apartment in a high rise building in Buffalo.  Since he likes to visit the large Indian Casino in Niagara Falls, he asked us to pick him up there instead of at his apartment.  Later that afternoon, we drove him back home, but we didn't go in.  It was a beautiful day, and we had a really nice time together.  

Since he does not have a computer, and isn't always home when we call, we sent him post cards and notes of the places we visited, and sometimes we were able to reach him by phone to chat.  We had such a chat with him sometime around the middle of September.  

We were unable to reach him in October, but since he goes out most days, we weren't too concerned.  Then came November, and colder weather, and we still had not heard from him.  We sent notes and left messages on his phone, but he didn't call back.  We couldn't find a phone listing for his apartment building to reach the manager, so we tried calling hospitals in the area.  After many attempts, we finally called the local police and asked them to go to his apartment to check on him.  Later that day they called us back and said that his neighbor told them he was taken to Erie County Medical Center in October.  When I called there, they said he HAD been there, but had since been discharged, and they could not tell me where he went to because of HIPPA regulations.

  Later on I called the police again, and they got me a phone number for the manager of his apartment building.  When I finally reached her, she said he had been back home, but became disoriented, and was walking the halls in his bare feet, and didn't know where he was, so he was taken back to ECMC.   It took several more calls, but finally we did reach someone who would verify that he was there.  I tried to get information from his nurse, but because of strict HIPPA laws concerning a patient's privacy rights, she was very reluctant to say anything more than that he was there.  I asked if there was any way we could talk to him on the phone.  She tried to say that he was suffering from dementia and his speech was very garbled so it would be difficult to understand anything he said.   I explained to her that his hearing is not good, and due to probably having a small stroke years ago, his speech has been somewhat garbled for a long time, but we could still understand him.  She put a phone in his room and we talked with him, and he seemed pretty much himself.  

Later he was released from there, so when we tried to call him again in a week or ten days, he was gone, and again, no one would tell us where he went.  This all happened in December, and throughout January we were again trying to reach him at his apartment or through contact with his apartment manager, Diana, without any success.  A couple weeks ago, when we tried to call his phone, we got a recorded message that the phone was disconnected or no longer in service!  This was of course very upsetting as we didn't know if he had a new phone or what, but we couldn't reach him, and after many tries, we still had not reached Diana. 

Yesterday Diana called me and asked if we had talked to Norm lately.  I told her  no, and shared with her that we had gotten the message that his phone was not in service,and that ECMC would not tell us where he was sent after he was released in December.  She said he was now two months behind in his rent, and she needed to find out if he would be coming back to the apartment or not.  I told her I didn't know anything about that.  

This morning at 6:15 am our time, she called me and gave me the name and phone number of the nursing and rehab facility he had been transferred to.  We called there, and after waiting for his social worker to talk to him to find out if he wanted information given out to us, she talked with me at length about his condition and treatments he was receiving there.  She also gave me the phone number for his room,but we still have not caught up with him there.  She said he cannot be released to go home alone as he needs 24 hour a day care and supervision.  They will most likely try to find him an assisted living care facility to send him to when he is ready to leave there. 

I know this has been a very long account, but I really want each of you to understand all we went through trying to track him down.  We hope to save someone out there from going through all we have been through since we got back here to California.  We could not afford to drive, or fly back to Buffalo to try to find him.  Even if we had gone, we didn't know where to look.  We didn't have a name or phone number of a close friend or contact to call to try to find out what had happened to him.  HIPPA laws are a good thing, but for us proved to be a major hurdle in trying to reach Norm.  

Please plan ahead!  None of us know when we might become ill or incapacitated, and then it might be too late.  Make a Living Will or a Durable Power of Attorney for Health care and/or financial decisions.  Carry a copy with you at all times, as well as a list of people to be called in the event of injury or illness.  You can put it on your cell phone under the listing of ICE which stands for:
 In Case of Emergency.  I have three numbers listed there.  
If you need special medical care, have a Medic Alert Bracelet made, and wear it.   Maybe it could even have a contact person's phone number on the back of it.  

I wouldn't wish this stressful situation we've been through on anyone.  Please make this a New Year's resolution to put your affairs in order, so someone else doesn't have to do it for you.  And if you have strong views on what care you do or do NOT want done for you, spell it out.  Don't leave others to guess what you would want.

That's all for now.  Take care and stay well.  :o)  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 5, 2016 More on the Shower Leak

Hi Everyone,
When I wrote about the repair on the shower being successful, I was speaking too soon!  The men were here on Thursday, and we thought all was well.  We let it "cure" or seal or whatever until Saturday morning.  When I first went into the bathroom, we saw water on the floor at the front corner outside the shower.  We hoped it was just a little residual from before, so I went ahead and took my shower....after which we had water running out into the hall again.  I called Brad and he said he would try to get back later that day.  As it turned out, he was not able to get here on Saturday, but to my surprise, he did show up later Sunday afternoon.  We showed him where we thought it might be leaking and he re-sealed the whole area.  Monday morning we got up and took showers again.............and there was a very significant leak into the hallway again.  We called Brad and he was back early in the afternoon.  He and his son checked the faucet connections inside the wall, and the drain connections under the shower.  They tightened and sealed everything they could find, and were ready to leave.....when water began leaking yet again.  After more searching and many body contortions, he spotted where the previous owners must have attempted a repair on the hot water intake hose, up inside the wall, by placing a coupling on it that was leaking a steady drip!!!!  He wanted to replace the entire piece of hose, but his connector would not fit on our faucet connections inside the he had to put a new coupling on our old hose and put it back in..........but it's been three days now, and a total of four showers later.............NO MORE LEAKS!!!!!  It was not an easy find or fix, but the hard working men of Miller RV Repair did not give up until the problem was solved.  Please consider calling them if you are in this area and need RV service.  As I said before, their rates are reasonable, and they will do whatever needs to be done to fix your problem.

When I wrote about the many electrical appliances we use to make our lives comfortable and save on propane usage, I forgot to mention one more that I would like to share with you today.  Last year we purchased the Ninja Nutrient Extractor Blender with Auto-IQ, and it is just wonderful.  

We use it to make fruit and vegetable smoothies that are delish!  We can also puree veggies to make a nice soup that we can heat up in the microwave.  Our microwave is not one of those combination micro/convection ovens.  It's just a plain old microwave, but I wouldn't ever want to be without it.  The first use of the day is to warm up the soft food for our dogs.  They each get a tiny amount of Little Cesar mixed with their grain-free dry dog food, but they won't touch it if it's cold!  We use the microwave to bake potatoes, make pop corn, make smores and much more.  I'm not saying the combo unit couldn't do all of these things, but just that we are happy with what we have.

Last night, like all the nights lately it has been very chilly, in the upper 30's over night.  This morning Jim saw a woman and small child get out of a pickup truck that they had slept in wrapped in blankets.  One could say that sleeping in the truck was better than sleeping on the hard, cold ground, but not a whole lot better.  Many areas of this country try to deny that they have homeless or people living below the poverty level.  It is not true, there are many unfortunate souls barely getting by.  Please look into your hearts and see what you might be able to do to help these people.  Maybe you can donate blankets or food to homeless shelters.  Maybe you can volunteer at a soup kitchen or at a church that feeds poor people.  It's easy to feel sorry for ourselves until we look at the less fortunate that are around us.  There will always be people who have more than we do, but if we have a roof over our heads and a warm bed to sleep in, if we have a few dollars in our pockets, and clothes to wear............we are more fortunate than millions of people in this world.  As a Christian, I cannot look the other way and pretend they don't exist.  I hope you feel the same way, and will do whatever you can.  Remember the phrase "There but for the Grace of God, go I".  Not every homeless person is a criminal or drug addict.  Many are either mentally ill or victims of the economic down turns.  Things like that could happen to anyone.

 On Tuesday we took the furry kids to see the doctor at Menifee Valley Animal Clinic.  They were both due for their rabies vaccines, and Willie was due for a combination vaccine.  We could have just gotten them vaccinated, but we decided we wanted them checked over and to see if we liked this doctor, for any future veterinarian needs.  He was very nice, and gave them very thorough exams.  He said that Millie has a congenital knee problem, and showed it to me so I can keep tabs on it.  IF it gets worse, she might need surgery, but at the present time, it is not necessary.  He also said the dogs are a little over weight.  Shame on us!  We have begun a diet for them of smaller portions.  We will also try to increase activity (walking) but we must balance that 
 against the need to prevent further injury to Millie's knee.  He said we shouldn't let her jump up and down off the furniture, but that will be a major challenge, since she loves to do that.  I'm not sure why visits to the vet and getting shots takes so much out of the dogs, but they always seem 
exhausted after a visit.  Here they are resting on our bed after they got back home.  I guess they were comforting each other for what they had been through.  LOL.  They both were quiet and rested a lot yesterday too.  I wouldn't call them lethargic, just not as peppy as they are most days.  I'll let you know how we do on helping them both lose some weight.  I expect we will lose weight too, well at least I can hope and try!   

We heard from our dear friend Rhonda this week.  She mentioned that her "new rig" was working out well, so I wrote back and said "wait a minute, I haven't heard about a new rig. Let's have some details."  She sent me a picture and said in November she bought herself a 36 foot Winnebago Vectra.  She is very happy with it.  For any of you who don't remember my writing about it, she lost her beloved and wonderful husband Wayne at the end of May last year to a dreadful pulmonary disease.  We met them when we all worked for the hot springs in New Mexico, and became good friends.  They visited us here at Wilderness Lakes when they were working at Anza Borrego, and again last January in Quartzsite, AZ.  Wayne was an awesome guy who is sorely missed.  They had been traveling in a big truck towing a very large 5th wheel trailer.  She has decided that a motorhome better suits her needs.  We are very happy for her, as we have always felt that a 5th wheel trailer is a lot of work to set up and tear down for travel.  She is currently in Pensacola, Florida, and we look forward to seeing her later this year when she heads west again.  She has our prayers and best wishes always.

Yesterday my brother Tony had a second surgery on his knee (sorry I can't remember which knee, but the first surgery didn't solve the problems and he still had a lot of pain in it).  He is at "home" in Culver City, with his lady, Jan, who is going to nurse him back to health.  Please pray for him that this surgery will make him as good as he can be again.

Bye for now.  Take care, keep warm and always count your blessings.  Have a great day and many, many more.

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1, 2016, just a little PS note

I'm sorry to admit it, but I had forgotten to share this information in my last blog post.  My dear friend Almita, who is a devoted birder, told me that the large black and white bird that I have posted pictures of twice now, is not a turkey, as I had thought he might be.  He is, in fact a Muscovy Duck.  I could not find that one in my bird book, but I have no doubt she is correct since he is happily hanging out with other ducks here.  As they say, birds of a feather......  Many thanks to Almita for correcting me, and I look forward to our birding trip with her and Rueben next month so I can learn more about these graceful creatures.  Happy trails everyone!  
Have a great week, and stay safe, especially if you are here in California with these high winds we are having.  :o)