Monday, October 31, 2016

Today is Halloween! Boo

Happy Halloween everyone,

So much has gone on over the last twelve days, but I'll try to bring you up-to-date, starting with something we did more than two weeks ago.  
We were frustrated by the lower cabinet in our bathroom, because the door was on the far right side and it was very hard to reach anything stored in the left side of it.  We figured out an inexpensive way to solve this problem.  We removed the piece of wood from the left side of the cabinet and replaced it with a pair of curtains on top and bottom tension rods.  Now we just open the curtains to find whatever we need.  It works perfectly.

As you know, Jim had his first cataract surgery at Loma Linda VA hospital this month, on his left eye.  He is enjoying much improved vision in that eye.  We went back last Wednesday for his follow up visit, and now he is scheduled to get his right eye done on November 17th.  There is something we have been immensely impressed by.  Obviously we see many other veterans at the VA hospital, many of whom have been severely injured, lost limbs, and more.  Much to my surprise, many of them step up to open doors for US.  I feel like we should be opening doors for them, but out of respect for them, we just thank them.  They are ALL polite, and helpful.  If we don't know where we are going, and the place is HUGE so it would be easy to get lost there, a veteran will ask where we want to go, and will walk there with us.  Often, in the lobby you will find a veteran entertaining others by playing the piano while others listen and sing along.  One hears about veterans with PTSD, and I'm sure some of these men and women could be suffering from that, but the people we see are always kind and respectful to others.  I know some veterans are homeless, and may be committing crimes out of desperation, but I really think all of us should do whatever we can to honor them in any way we can.
We are still here at Wilderness Lakes, and many of our neighbors have decorated their RVs and their sites for Halloween.  They have a lot of imagination sometimes.

 As you can see, they get really creative.
    Not so much for us though.  However, we handed out candy to all of the trick-or treaters Saturday evening.  Jim was wearing his Army veteran baseball cap and several of the older kids who came to our site thanked him for his service!  WOW!!!!  I was so proud of him.  We are fortunate that Jim was never sent to a war zone, but he did serve during the Viet Nam era, and he could have been sent there.  
Today we had a service come out and clean our carpets, and the upholstered chair by the door.  WOW!  We try to keep it clean in here, but the carpet and chair look like new now.  They also Scotch-guarded them to protect against stains.  We knew we had to get EVERYTHING off the floor before they got here, so yesterday we went through all the cupboards, closets and drawers to see what we could get rid of.  I get what I call "the urge to purge" and it feels so good to get rid of some of our clutter.  We took three bags of stuff to the trash, and two bags to the Goodwill bin.  I always say that if one has not used something in six months, one probably does NOT really need it at all.  Carrying too much weight in an RV can damage it, and can increase the risk of having an accident if one cannot stop quickly enough.  To reduce our clutter, we have ordered a smaller Kitchen Aid mixer, and will try to sell the bigger one we have.  We ordered the ice cream maker attachment and will sell the Cuisinart ice cream maker we have.  We might even be able to sell our bread maker if Jim can use the Kitchen Aid to mix up his bread dough.  We couldn't do that with the mixer we have because, for some odd reason, the bowl wouldn't lock into place and would bounce around when we tried to use it to knead the dough.  

In the past, we never wanted to have an RV with a built-in washer and dryer, because it would mean less storage space.  But the truth is, we also hate going to the laundromat, so we put it off until we have a TON of laundry to do, and we really hate that even more!  Our friend Diane introduced us to an alternative that we are going to try out.  We bought a small portable washer from Camping World yesterday.....and ordered a small portable spin dryer from WalMart.  It should get here in a day or two.  This way, in about 15 minutes we can wash about 4 1/2 pounds of clothes, and it will spin dry in 2-5 minutes.  Diane said she usually hangs clothes up for an hour or two and they are ready to put away.  Yesterday she used the dryer for 5 minutes, and the clothes were completely dry!  Again, WOW.  The savings on laundromat cost should pay for they machines in less than 3 months!!!!  Each appliance weighs less than twenty pounds, so they don't add much extra weight to the RV either.   

I guess that's all for today, but I will let you know, in my next blog post, how the portable washer & dryer work out for us.  Take care and stay well.  Happy trails to those of you who are travelers enjoying this wonderful life.  Remember to be kinder than you "need to" to the people you meet.  You cannot know what problems they may be dealing with.  Life is wonderful, but sometimes it can be difficult.  God never promised us life would be easy, just that He will always be here for us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 19, 2016

This will be pretty short today, but I wanted to bring our friends, family and loved ones up to date.  Monday we packed up and traveled down to Wilderness Lakes, from Silent Valley.  We found a nice site near the back of the park and began setting up.  We got the RV set up, and Tony arrived around noon.  He helped Jim nail down the screen room and set out the refrigerator, and chairs.  We had a late lunch and relaxed that afternoon.  The VA hospital called and said Jim would need to be there by 5:45 am the next day.  That was an unhappy shock to us because we had been told he would be the last surgery of the day!  We usually don't drive after dark (or before dawn).  We had to get up at 4 am (Yikes) and leave here at 4:30 am.  Besides being dark outside, it was very foggy!  We got to the VA at 5:38 am.  He was checked in and taken to the short stay unit at 5:45 am. By 6:30 they had started his IV and were giving him eye drops.....3 different drops given 3 times each.  They took him to the surgical suite at 6:35.  I went to the waiting room, where they had a monitor listing all the patients and when their surgery would start and when it ended.  He went into an operating room at 7:40 and surgery began ten minutes later.  He came back to the surgical short stay unit at 8:35, and I was allowed to come see him soon after.  I am reporting the times, to show how efficiently they manage the care of patients at Loma Linda VA hospital.  He was supposed to have to come back today for his first post op visit, but we were told that if we wanted to stay around until 1 pm, he could see the doctor for the visit, and then we wouldn't have to drive back today.  We went up to the Patriot Cafe and had a brunch, and, since Jim had not worn a cap there, I bought him an ARMY vet camouflage baseball cap.   We went out to the car and rested there until about noon.  At that time we went into the eye clinic, and signed in.  He was seen by a technician before 12:30 and the doctor checked him and we were on our way home  BY 1 pm.  Tony had stayed here and took care of our dogs while we were gone.  It was a major relief knowing we didn't have to worry about them for all those hours.  Our dogs love Tony and his dog Woody.  We were exhausted when we got home, but Jim is doing great!  I wish I had taken pictures of Woody, who is about 65 pounds of German Shepherd trying to nap in little Millie's bed!!!  We let Woody sleep in Willie's nice memory foam bed at night, since Willie spent the last two nights beside our bed...and before morning IN our bed.  Tony stayed over again last night, and we were happy about that.  This morning I made pancakes and eggs for breakfast.  We played Mexican Train until lunch time.  After lunch Tony & Woody went back to Oceanside.  I can't thank him enough for helping us while Jim is recovering.  We go back next Wednesday for his next check-up.  Hopefully, we will be able to schedule his next surgery, for the right eye while we are there.  Tony has already offered to come back and take care of the dogs for Jim's second surgery.  We hope that will be around Thanksgiving, so we can be done with it, and he can get fitted for his reading glasses before the end of the year.  If any of you are reading this, and have been told that you need to have cataract surgery, please don't put it off.  Jim can already see much better than before, and when he gets the right eye done, it should be amazing!!!  Take care now.  I'll write more next time...............and include pictures too.  Stay well dear ones.  Keep the rubber side down and travel safe.        

Sunday, October 9, 2016

More News from Silent Valley

Hi Again friends, 

I'm back now to finish the blog that I started last week.  It has been a busy week for us.  
As promised, here is the picture of Jim's brother Norm with Jeanette back in the 1980's.
We were very delighted that Jeanette's daughter Christine shared this picture with us.

Before we left the Garden Grove Elks, on Monday, Pastor Paul and his beautiful wife Aiko came to our motorhome for lunch.  We had a wonderful time together.  
Later,we went into the lodge for Taco night.  On the way in, with our friend Cindy, we saw this cute little tear drop trailer.

 I don't know who owns it, but we think it may have been a homemade camper.  So cute!!!!!
 This is a photo of a stained glass panel showing the head and antlers of an Elk, and was dedicated to "our absent members" and those who have served.  It is located above a half wall between the bar and the east room of the lodge.  It is very beautiful and inspirational.            

I'm not exactly sure just what this vehicle is, but we saw this when we came out of the lodge.  It said across the top of the windshield.  If you are curious, you might look it up online.
We came to Silent Valley on Tuesday, and on Thursday we went to Loma Linda VA for Jim to see an ophthalmologist about his cataracts.  We were amazed at the quality of the eye examination he received, and the doctor agreed that it is time for him to have surgery to remove the cataracts.  Much to our surprise, after hearing horror stories about long waits for care in the VA system, he has been scheduled for surgery on October 18th.  I don't know just how long he will have to wait for the second eye to be done, but the left eye will be done next week.  YAY!!!  

Since Jim will have to take it easy for a while, we have decided to go back to Wilderness Lakes the day before his surgery instead of after.  That way, we will have 21 days for him to recover before we travel again, to Palm Springs (Thousand Trails).  I am very grateful that my dear brother Tony has agreed to come to Wilderness Lakes on the 17th to look after our dogs while we go to the VA the next day.  
 Our site here has trees, and we get visited from squirrels and many kinds of birds.  I wish I could get a photo of the woodpecker that visits, but he leaves before I can get my camera out.  These black birds come by and tease our dogs, but of course they can't get to the birds.

Saturday the folks at Silent Valley held an Oktoberfest here.  They had the American Bavarian Brass Band here all afternoon.  I'm sorry that campers here didn't come out to enjoy their wonderful music.  This park is quite full, but I'd guess there was less than 50 people out there to enjoy the festivities.  It was loads of fun!  They did the "chicken dance" and a German version of the "hokey pokey".  But even better than that, they did a parade of flags, and honored each branch of the service.  Jim didn't feel like participating, so I carried a flag.  I felt grateful for the chance to honor our men and women who have served in the armed forces over the years.  
 I took this picture to show the pair of Elk Horns the band brought.  We were late getting there, so we missed hearing them being played though.  We left before the beer chugging contest.  I really didn't want to see that.  
We did go into the "Watering Hole" which is the local saloon here at the park, and saw this guy sitting near the door.  

We will not be here for it this year, but Silent Valley does have a very festive weekend celebration for Halloween.  They have a haunted house, and a haunted forest, plus special activities.  Many of the members who camp here this time of year set up very elaborate decorations each year.  It's really spectacular to see!  

I would like to make one comment, and tip, regarding Halloween now.  As you all know, we are a "dog family" but many families have cats in their households.  Sadly, I have heard that some people do terrible things to cats, especially black cats at this time of year.  If you do have cats, PLEASE keep your beloved pets safe now, and especially over the end of this month.  

It's time to close now, so I will leave you with my best wishes for health, happiness and prosperity.  As winter approaches, make sure to keep your pets safe and warm.  Be well, and enjoy life.  Good night dear ones.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Our Latest Visit to Garden Grove Elks

Hi Everyone,  
I have so much to share that I may divide this into two blog postings.  
Before we left I had to get a picture of this cute little vintage travel trailer.  Too cute!!!  There was another one that was black, silver & white, but they left before I got a picture of it.

Last Wednesday we finished getting rid of the things we didn't need, and began packing up to leave on Thursday.  We got on the road by 9:30 am for what SHOULD have been no more than a 90 minute drive.  However, we got bogged down where the I-15 goes into the California 91 freeway because of ongoing construction.........OMG.  Due to this delay, we didn't get to the Elks until almost noon!  Set up was not too bad since we didn't put anything outside except our extra refrigerator.  We had lunch inside the lodge, hot meatball sandwiches.......yummy.  We were so full that we didn't even need dinner that night.  Later we took the car to our service place, Imperial Auto, to try to find out why our low tire pressure light was staying on, even though all tires had sufficient air in them.  Turned out to be a defective sensor.  He didn't have one, but said we can get it at any auto parts place, and any tire shop can install and re-program it for us.  YAY.  We haven't done that yet, but will take care of it very soon.
I cleaned house (with my new Electrolux vacuum cleaner that is so awesome) on Friday morning, and answered some emails.  Friday afternoon we went to visit some dear friends, Irene & Don.  He is 93 years old and although she won't tell anyone her exact age, she had to be over 85.  They are amazing, and inspirational.

 They live in a place called Emerald Court.  She has an apartment in the Independent living section, and he is in the Assisted living area.  They are quite happy, but miss seeing all their friends at the Garden Grove Elks lodge.  We had a lovely visit, but had to leave when they went to play bingo!

Later Friday afternoon I got an email from the mortuary that had handled Jim's brother's cremation.  To make a long story short they had received a request for information from a woman who wanted to post an obituary notice in the Buffalo newspaper, but they wanted to check with me about it.  He gave me her phone number, and she turned out to be the daughter of the woman Norm had been engaged to, who was his one true love, Jeanette.  We had a wonderful conversation, albeit tearful at times.  She sent me a picture of Norm and Jeanette, which we will treasure always.  She told us things about Norm that we had never known.  We knew he was a fine person, but she shared more details about nice things he had done.  Norm was not one to brag so we didn't know how much help and love he had given to all of Jeanette's family, and how he stood by her to the very end of a terminal illness.  If I can figure out how to take that picture from the email and post it on my blog, I will include it in my next entry.

Friday night we went in the lodge for dinner and dancing.  The entertainer was a man named Jerry Benton, that we have known and loved for many years.  It was great to be there for his final performance before retirement. 
He's quite a guy.  He is 62 and is retiring to go to Kansas City, Kansas to take care of his 93 year old mother.  He has bought a house there, but intends to also buy a small motorhome so he can take her to see places she has always wanted to visit.  Because this was his farewell performance................the place was packed, and we got to see many people we had not seen in several years, as well as friends we see every time we come down to the lodge.
This is our friends Ron & Sherrie Parker.  They are great dancers, and good friends we like to get together with to play Mexican Train.  It seems like she always wins......but she said she lost last time.
 To the right is a picture of our friend Alice Salinas, who was Emblem Club president several times and did many wonderful things for the club.  With her is her hot new guy, Joe De La Luz, who is a past exalted ruler of the Elks lodge.  Don't they make a gorgeous couple?  She is really sweet too.  It has been several years since we saw her, so I was really delighted that we ran into them Friday night.
 This picture is of Vince & Patty.  I don't know their last name, but we've known them at the lodge for many years.  He must be about 90 by now, and I won't guess at her age, I'm too polite to.  LOL.  He used to sing with the band Breakaway, and everybody loved his version of "Margaritaville".  Until recently, they used to show up at the lodge on Saturday nights on their Harley "hog".  But they reluctantly gave that up and now have gotten a motorhome to travel around the country in.  We wished them many happy travels.

The picture on the right is our very dear friends "Big Fred" and Marla.  We met Fred many years ago when we joined a Good Sam club and went camping together every month.  I met Marla in the Emblem club.  For those of you who have been in our motorhome, she painted the picture of my beloved Yorkie, Mitzi on a piece of petrified wood that hangs in my living room, and also the beautiful lighthouse picture that hangs in our bedroom.  She also painted a wonderful picture of a standing Elk that hangs in the social area of the lodge.  It is really beautiful.  There were many others we were happy to see, but I don't have pictures of all of them.  We danced our feet off (hahahaha) and had a really nice evening there.

Saturday morning, my very dear friend Joan came over.  We had a really nice visit.  I have known Joan for about 35 years, and it is always great to see her.  She and her husband, Jim ran a board and care for many years.  Now they are retired and travel some in a small van camper.  She said they are considering moving out of their condo and I suggested that they might like to get a larger RV so they could travel more comfortably.  I also told her about Thousand Trails zone memberships, which would give them a chance to camp in Thousand Trails preserves over a 12 month period, to see if they want to become long term members.
Saturday night Sherrie & Ron came over for dinner.  She made a fantastic salad, and I made BBQ chicken.  Jim did French fries in his T-Fal Air fryer.  After dinner we played "Train" which Sherrie won.  It was another wonderful evening.

On Sunday we went to church and saw all of our dear friends of our church family.  That afternoon Marla & Fred came over to visit us at our RV.  She looked over several of Jim's drawings and said he shows real talent.  She encouraged him and gave him some tips to help him improve his art work.  I truly hope he will be inspired to do more drawings and paintings because I already knew he was good at it.

I'm going to close this blog now, and will write some more next week.  I'll report on our guests that came over on Monday, what we saw on Monday, our travels up here to Silent Valley, and what has been going on since we got here.  I'll probably write the next posting on Monday or Tuesday.

Stay well, stay warm, and stay happy.  Life is an adventure, so enjoy it, and savor every blessing God gives you.  As Walt Wille always wrote:  Keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down.