Monday, October 30, 2017

Cooling Off in Palm Springs

It has been quite hot here in the desert for the past week, but praise be to God it is finally starting to feel like autumn here.  We are so grateful for our two working air conditioners since it was over 100 most days, and only down into the mid 70's at night.  This week it's only supposed to get into the mid 80's with nights in the lower 60's.  What a blessed relief that will be.  With it being cooler the last two mornings, we have begun taking a 30 minute walk here in the park.  That, of course means I have gotten to take some pictures of the other RVs we see here.  Palm Springs, for those of you who don't live here and might not know, is a rather hoity toity area.  It is home to many wealthy retired people, and a second home to many of the rich and famous.......NOT like us.  We see a lot of very pricey RVs here, but also some that are not so pricey.  I always like seeing the variety that comes here.

Here are two shots of a Gateway 5th wheel trailer.  It is interesting because it has a patio extension on the side of it.  We saw these on the TV show "Big Time RV" but it's the first side patio we have seen up close.  This trailer has two slide rooms on each side, so the inside area must be huge!  We watched him back it in to his site.  He tried three other sites before he found one with enough space for the slide rooms AND the patio.  Boy I'm glad we don't have anything THAT big to maneuver in.  I would be terrified for sure.  We also can't afford anything that big, but we still don't want anything bigger than what we have.  This is just right for the two of us and the two furry kids.
 Here is a van/camper we have seen here before.  I don't know if he lives in this park, but he goes out every day, and returns at night, so he might have a job some place nearby.
I got a kick out of the decor outside this motorhome.  Lots of people really get into the Halloween spirit.
 This is called an R-pod, and I was surprised to see the slide room on it.
 Here's another view on the other side.  I don't really want a trailer, but this sure is a cute one.  The picture on the right is between the two windows on it.  I just had to include it, since it was a frog paddling a canoe! Too cute.

Somebody will have to tell me what kind of bush this is, but they are all around here, and very pretty.
We saw this little fella in the ranger station this morning.  If you press the button it plays "Dixie"!!!!  The folks who work here are all very nice, and friendly.
Today we walked over into the "30 amp" side of the park.  We have never even been inside the family center and pool area.  This cabana is in the pool and spa enclosure.  There were people in the pool, and since I didn't want to invade their privacy, this is the only pix I took while we were there. 

 This motorhome is called the Winabago View.  It is a cute little compact RV.  If we ever have to downsize, this is what we might if I had to be able to drive it myself.
 I got a kick out of what is written on this 5th wheel.  On the left side pix it says "living the dream", and above that, in the pix on the right it says "FBI Full Blooded Indian".  I love how RVers express their individuality!

 I have NO idea what the letters on the back of this one mean, but it's NOT every day that we see a purple RV so I had to take this pix today.
Many drivers do NOT respect RV drivers on the road.  They often cut in too close and do other things that are dangerous.  This Toy Hauler 5th wheel wants to let people know just how dangerous it can be to drive in the area that might be in the driver's blind spot.
As I said earlier, not every RVer is loaded with money, and some camp very economically.  Here is a pop-up tent trailer and a separate tent.  I think we are much too old to ever sleep on the ground in a tent again! 

I think this is just too small for
us.  I took the pix on the right to show just how empty the park is 
right now.  In another month, it will be full again for the winter......many snow birds come here.
This is the same tiny "woody" we have posted pictures of.  We usually see it in Wilderness Lakes.  I posted this pix because it showed their "pet" flamingo in front of the trailer.  They also have a live addition that we had not seen before.  There is a young duck in the fenced pen in the picture on the right.  There is also a shaded cage for the duck to go inside to get away from the heat and sunshine.

Since it has cooled off some, we saw a few bicycle riders out today enjoying a ride around the park.  We may get some rain later this week, so one takes advantage of nice days to get outside.
Last but not least is our home with the awning out.  The day we arrived, we backed it in too far, and because of the palm tree, we couldn't put the awning out.  A few days later we packed up, moved the slides in and moved forward three feet so we could have some shade from the incredible sun.  We still get the morning sun, but we can sit outside in the late afternoon and enjoy the evenings outside.  

God has blessed us in so many ways.  My brother Tony had planned to sail with some friends, on their boat, down to Mexico this week.  He was very anxious about some of the conditions and therefore I was worried sick about him going.  Can you imagine my relief Friday night when he texted me that he got cold feet about it.?  He had them bring him back to San Diego, and he was back home in Oceanside on his boat.  I always believe you should trust you feelings when you have doubts about what you are going to do.  Maybe the anxiety he felt was because God was telling him not to go.  This is just one of many ways our Heavenly Father communicates with us, and we need to LISTEN when He does.  Trust God to always guide you.  Faith will never take you where the Holy Father would not want you to go.  Thank God Tony listened and came back safely.  
Have a wonderful week ahead, and enjoy the cooling weather, and the beautiful sights and smells of autumn. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

We're in Sunny Palm Springs Now

Hi dear friends and family,

After near freezing temperatures at night, well it seemed really cold to us, we are in Palm Springs and it is quite HOT here now.  Who would have thought it would get over 100 degrees near the end of October???  The over night low temperatures barely dip below 70.  While we were up in Silent Valley we put the comfy soft flannel sheets and the electric blanket on the bed.............but I'm pretty sure we won't be turning that on while we are here for two weeks.  

Doggy updates:  Millie continues to do well and is accepting the Hills Science Diet Kidney formula quite well, and her appetite has returned.  YAY!  Back in May, in New Mexico, Willie had what we believe was a kidney stone, caused at least in part by the higher than normal calcium level in the local water.  He was treated with an antibiotic for a possible urinary tract infection, and recovered.  Even though he has not had any more troubles, the vet said he probably should NOT continue on the high protein, grain-free diet he was on, but he doesn't need the prescription diet Millie is on.  We did online research and decided to try him on the Natural Balance Vegan diet, which has nearly 10% less protein than what he (and Millie too) had been eating before.  I am transitioning him gradually while we use up the high protein food, and he is also accepting the new food quite well.  It is costly, but it will possibly save money on vet bills down the road.  Again YAY!!!

Before we left Silent Valley we took some pictures of the decorating being done for Halloween in the park.  Here are some of the pix we took.
 Take a close look at this three wheeler parked next to the ranger station.
 This and the next two pix are at the site we had hoped to get into when we arrived here last month.

When we left on Saturday they were STILL working on their decorations!  Even though this is just not our thing, I can see why this guy won first place in the decorating contest last year.

The guy who had these witches, also had a lot more, but not like the first guy.  He has witches flying from the trees and a few skeletons sitting in chairs.  It's all in good fun.  Next Saturday they will have over 1000 kids trick or treating in the streets up there all afternoon, plus the costume contests for each age group and the site decorating contests.  

This is a tent I saw up the street from us here in Palm Springs.  It looks like army surplus to me, but I don't know for sure.  We got here on Saturday, and setting up in the 90+ heat was exhausting.  We got a nice site, hooked up and did only what we had to until it cooled off later.  Sunday we tried to relax and today we are beginning to feel like ourselves again.  

Jim just told me he ran into a guy this morning that he had met here almost two years ago.  The guy remembered him and called him by  He was the guy that suggested to Jim that he should see if he could qualify for VA medical benefits......which he, of course, has done.  This guy told Jim that HE had been denied because he makes too much money, but he was glad to hear that Jim has been able to receive his care through the VA. 

Even though I liked using our small washer and spin dryer so we didn't have to haul our clothes out to the laundromat, I am thinking about trying to sell them here tomorrow.  Besides the craft sales they allow people to do on Friday mornings, they now have what they call "Yard Sale at your Site" on Tuesday mornings.  My reason for selling is mainly because I am always trying to reduce the amount of stuff we carry around.  This past month we gave away our Power XL air fryer, because it did not fit into ANY storage we had inside the RV.  It also duplicated what we can do in the NuWave Oven, so we didn't need both.  Diane and Jim were delighted to get it and love to air fry sweet potato fries and other veggies.  They are vegans and say they are using it every day!  They can use it for veggie burgers and so much more.

Jim got a bigger compressor, as the one he had took forever to do the motorhome tires, so he gave the smaller one, and his older power drill to Jim & Diane too, mainly Jim I would think.  You might ask why we didn't try to sell them these items but we have a good reason.  Although these items are currently working, they are NOT new, and we don't know how long they will continue to work.  I would HATE to charge a friend for something that could stop working before long, and risk having them think we took advantage of them.  Still, if they do work, and someone we know can use the items, we would rather give them away than throw them in the trash. We did trash a pair of outside chairs that felt like they were about to give out, and we gave our blue rug that we bought for the screen room we don't have anymore to Diane & Jim.
Anything we can get rid of is less weight to carry around in the RV or the car.  Also, it means less for Jim to have to load up to move, and set up when we get someplace.  We do like having our "toys" but we also have to consider the cost of carrying all that stuff around.  Every time we went to one of Gail's lectures on ways to save space and/or weight in your RV, I would come home and get rid of lots of stuff............but she has stopped selling her stuff and giving lectures, so now I have to figure out for myself how to do all this.  I do go through all our drawers, closets, and inside storage spaces to see what we have collected over the past year, or have carried around for another year that we are not using.  I like to say "If we haven't needed it for the last 12 months, we probably won't need it next year."  However, Jim doesn't always agree with that and says maybe we'll need this next year, and have to buy it for a higher price.  Oh well.

Now we have a new items we want to save up for.  We actually NEED a new stove and oven.  That is funny because so many people never use their RV ovens, except to store things inside, but we cook and bake in ours almost every day.  Our stove top igniter does not work anymore.  Not too big a deal by itself, but the oven door won't stay closed so it is hard to bake when you can't keep the oven at a constant temperature.  We also worry about gas leakage into the RV, so we open a door or the MaxxAir vent to make sure we have plenty of fresh air in here when we bake.  

Once we replace the oven, we would like to get a new refrigerator/freezer.  We have inadvertently broken off three or four of the cooling blades, so the refrigerator has to work harder to keep food cold, using more electricity.  Also, newer models are more efficient and actually give you more cubic feet of storage in the same space we have now.  Many people are converting to residential refrigerators, but we don't want to do that.  Those only run on electricity, but RV units can also run on propane. We use propane when we dry camp, such as if we are at Elks lodges that don't offer electric hookups.  

We also think we need to replace the mattress on our bed.  We added a pillow top mattress topper when we bought this RV, which made it much more comfortable...........but we really think a new mattress is what we need, as soon as we can get it.  Maybe it's time to start buying lottery tickets!  LOL.

I think it's time to close now so I will summarize by saying that if you also have too much baggage in your life, maybe it's time for you to take stock of what you really need and what you need to give up.  This can apply to more than possessions too.  Are you holding onto a grudge or an old "hurt" that you should have let go of long ago?  The possessions that you are hanging on to might be more useful to someone else.  If you don't know who to give things to, the Salvation Army or Goodwill might be a good place to donate things.  As for the pain or grudge you are holding onto, I think you know who to give that to.  Many sermons and hymns have told us to take our problems and concerns to Jesus.  He can take all of our burdens from us, so we can move forward without them.  Let them go, and start anew without the unneeded baggage.  Thanksgiving is just weeks away, and then Christmas and a New Year.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to start the holy season and the new year without all the pain and anger and strife that you may have been carrying around for such a long time?  I know I want to.  Have a wonderful day, and week ahead, and so much more.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday, at Silent Valley

Hi dear friends and family,

I hope all is well for all of you.  I thought I would try to bring you up to date on a few things, including stuff I meant to include before, and share about a book I read this week.

First a picture of the Best Buy Geek agent, Antoun, who took care of us last week.
Not to be unkind, but have you ever seen anybody MORE geek-y looking?  He was kind and patient and reassuring to me when I was overwhelmed and terrified.  I am so grateful for his help.  Tony was right in telling me I needed professional help getting my computer de-bugged and safe to use again.  We were down the hill last Friday and stopped in to say hi and tell him how good it is to feel safe when I go online now.  We give the Geek Squad at Best Buy TWO thumbs up!

Since our dining room has transitioned to an owl decor, I just had to replace the plain silver wall clock with one that compliments the curtains, cookie jar and the place mats.
Most of you know that blue is our favorite color too.  On the left side is the daddy owl (Jim) and next to him a little boy owl (Willie).  On the right side is the mommy owl (me) and next is the baby girl owl (Millie).  I just love it!!!!  Jim isn't as thrilled as I was, but he lets me do what I want to with the decor.  The silver colored wall clock is in our bedroom.

Now each room has it's own decor:  sea shells in the kitchen and our bedroom, lighthouses in the living room and the bathroom, and owls in the dining room.  As long as I don't mess with Jim's easy chair and the TV, he is happy.

A week ago Saturday we met my sister Donna and her husband George down in Banning for lunch.  She brought me a book she thought I would enjoy reading.  It is called "Heaven is for Real" by a Nebraska pastor named Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent.  It is less than 140 pages long, but is an amazing book.  It is about a very young boy, Todd's son Colton, who got a chance to really see heaven.  He sat on the lap of our Lord Jesus, and saw God the Father, the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist, the angel Gabriel and the devil too.  He describes things that such a young boy would not have known about if his story was not true.  It is an incredible account that I found very compelling to read.  I heartily recommend this book to anyone who doubts the truth of the Bible, and to anyone who knows that the Bible is totally true and would like to know more about heaven.  I learned a lot from this book, and will share one small item.  Many learned Christians have told me the our pets do NOT go to heaven because animals don't have a soul.  I was very upset about this because I just knew the Jesus loved the little children and the animals too.  When asked about who else he saw in heaven, Colton told of seeing family members that died before he had been born, and said that there were many animals, horses, dogs, and a lion.  He said we will be reunited with our loved ones, and I am happy to know that our departed pets will be among the loved ones we will see again.  

Jim is scheduled for his next surgery on December 15th at the Loma Linda VA hospital in Loma Linda.  We won't know what time until the day before.  Tony will again come stay in our RV at Wilderness Lakes to look after the furry kids.  However, Joan will be off skiing with her group of older friends.  They call themselves the "Over the Hill Gang".  If I remember correctly, they range from their 60's to over 100 years old.  Is that amazing or what????  I really admire people who keep that active and enjoy life with such zest!  I will miss her at the hospital that day, but I wish her a wonderful week on the slopes, and I thank her again, for being with me for his surgery in September.  We should all be inspired by Joan and her friends who are living their dreams every day.  

Now I must ask for prayers for all the people who have lost their homes and some who have lost loved ones to these terrible, devastating fires in northern California.  Back in 2011 we spent time in that beautiful area.  We visited the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, a petrified tree and a geyser in the area.  Later we drove farther north and saw the amazing giant redwoods, and even drove our car through one!  It is a wonderful and beautiful part of this state.  We are deeply saddened to learn that so much of God's beauty has been taken from us by fires.   I pray these people will seek comfort and strength from God as they begin the arduous task of rebuilding and moving forward again.  Life can be challenging, but God never gives us more than we can handle, especially if we remember to ask Him for help.  

Someone recently wrote to me that this life will not be too long.  I'm sorry I didn't save the comment.  I went back to my email to see if I had, but it was gone.  I'm not sure just what he means by too long.  Even on dark days, like when Millie was sick, I feel blessed.  I truly hope she will be part of our family for a nice, long time.  However, if we lose her, we will still feel blessed for all the time we have with her, also with Willie.  I have grieved profoundly for each pet that has left us, but I am grateful for each of them that God has sent into our lives.  A friend of mine once said years ago that she would never have a pet because they ruin your lives.  I told her that until she has loved a pet, and been comforted by one when she is sad, she will never understand how totally WRONG she is.  A few years ago she got a puppy, and now she won't go anywhere without her beloved pet.  Life cannot be too long for us.  We wake up looking forward to what God has in store for us today.  As a song once said, "I never promised you a rose garden" but most days are better than I could have asked for.  I'm in no hurry to leave this life, even though I KNOW the one ahead is even better.  I want to experience all that God has for me here, before I begin that new life.  

Have a grand day and a glorious week ahead, and thank God for all he has given you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Some Good News

Happy Days are Here again, the skies above are clear again!  I just wanted to share my joy with all of you who have written and prayed for us.  

On Tuesday, after the infusions of normal saline had finished, we needed to take Millie to a local veterinarian for follow up lab work.  I discussed the whole story of her illness with this doctor.  As I had thought, she said that Millie's small, shriveled up kidney is most likely congenital, and not an acute problem.  She said that Millie probably had gastritis last week, which left her dehydrated.  We are happy that the ultrasound showed us about her small kidney, which is probably not functioning at optimal capacity.  The repeated blood work was all within normal limits now, for which we are very grateful.  We are still encouraging her to drink plenty of water, so she won't become dehydrated again.

Since we now know that she has some degree of limited kidney function, we have to protect her remaining good kidney.  In order to do this, we will be putting her on a diet that is low in protein, because a diet high in protein stresses the kidneys.  We started yesterday to gradually transition from the grain-free Nature's Domain diet we were buying at Costco to a low protein diet.  The doctor wants us to do it gradually as a sudden diet change could cause her to start vomiting and having diarrhea again.  

We also have delayed the vaccinations she and Willie are currently due for until she has fully recovered from this illness and is off the medications she is taking now, so there won't be any adverse reactions.  This means we have to keep them away from any other dogs for a while, until they are vaccinated and not at risk for other illnesses.  

Millie is almost back to her usual playful self, but is still staying close to me.  Somehow, I think she realizes she was pretty sick and that I was trying to help her.  I can't thank you enough for the prayers for Millie.  

I praise God for leading us to another doctor, so we could get a second opinion.  We thank God that Millie is recovering nicely from her tummy troubles.  And we know that God is watching over us to keep us all well.  My dear brother Tony replied to our last blog about how we sometimes fall victim to feelings of self pity.  He reminded me we have only to look around to see many who are less fortunate than we are, and realize all the blessings we need to thank God for.  God loves us and wants to take care of us.  All we need to do is ask Him.  Have a wonderful day full of peace, love and joy. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

This Has Been a Very Tough Week for Us

I'm not sure how long this will be, and it won't be what I had said it would be.  It began as a good enough week.  On Sunday I baked a nice cake and Diane & Jim Hubert came over after dinner to play Mexican Train.  We really enjoyed their visit and had a nice evening together.  Sunday night was chilly, but not too cold.

Monday morning Millie spit up some phlegm and didn't want to eat I figured we shouldn't push it and let her take it easy for a while.  Most of the day she rested on the couch.  That night at 5 pm she ate about 2/3 of what she normally eats, so we thought she was feeling better.  Everything seemed OK until 11 pm, when she vomited up the whole dinner she had eater six hours earlier.  I was up with her most of the night.....watching over her and offering sips of water every hour.  In the morning I called her doctor in Menifee.  He said I should bring her down there for him to see her.  On the drive down from here she vomited a huge amount of bile.  We got there and he took her right in.  After examining her, he was going to just send her home with meds for her upset tummy.  He said if she got worse, or didn't get better, he would do blood work and an abdominal X-ray.  Since I didn't want to risk her getting worse, I implored him to do the follow up work now.  He also did an ultrasound that showed she had a deformed left kidney and the lab work suggested she might be in early kidney failure!  OMG.  Starting on Wednesday, I have been infusing 100 mL of normal saline into her shoulder area on each side.  It used to be called a clysis, and amounts to fluid under the skin that causes a swollen area, which has to gradually be re-absorbed.  In order to make sure it doesn't fill the area around her trachea, making it more difficult for her to breathe, I have sat holding her for well over an hour each day.  I have to keep her head elevated and massage her back and shoulder area to make sure  the collected fluid does her no harm.  I have been worried sick  because she has been very lethargic since this all started.........but today she was a little bit more playful and active.  Maybe we are beginning to see a slight improvement.  Please pray she will be alright soon.  

As many of you know, Sunday afternoon I was taken in by a fraudulent individual who tried to manipulate me to get money from our bank accounts.  It is too upsetting to go into all of the details, but suffice it to say, Tony advised me that this was a hacker and NOT to do what he told me to do.  He also told me to call my bank and freeze our accounts and cancel my debit card.  That turned out to be the easiest part of that nightmare.  He had apparently left spyware on my computer that let him see as soon as I turned my computer on, and he began taking control of it.  I quickly shut it off, and called Tony.  He told me that I would probably need to take my computer someplace, like Best Buy, to have someone, like the Geek Squad to take off any spyware and malware that he had put on it, and set up a new anti-virus security program.  All has been done and the Geek agent told me I should change my passwords, especially on our bank accounts and my email account, which I did on Wednesday.  My computer is working better than ever now.  This hacker is the person who had convinced me my computer had over 3000 viruses back in August, which maybe he put there in the first time!  Anyway, the takeaway from this is that I have learned to be MUCH more wary about my computer.  I will NOT give out ANY bank information or give anyone access to my accounts!  

All in all, with the computer hacker and then Millie getting sick, this has been the worst week I can remember in a long time, and yet we feel we still have to focus on our blessings.  
First:  I was able to reach my dear brother Tony, and he advised me on what to do before any real damage was done to our bank accounts.
Second:  We were able to get my computer fixed and secure again without further trouble.
Third:   We were able to get Millie to a doctor who is taking care of her.
Fourth:  We are more fortunate than the people who were at the ill-fated country music concert in Las Vegas.  We are fans of the music, but could not have afforded to go there, so we were here, safe and sound.  Our prayers go out to ALL the people who were injured or killed there on Sunday night, and to their families and friends who are dealing with all this pain and grief.  I can't even imagine how they must be feeling or how they are coping with all of this.  Obviously we cannot imagine what makes a person do such evil acts of violence.  It just boggles the mind.  All I can say is that we hope all of you will pray for these people.  

Please remember that no matter what you are struggling with, there are others who are suffering with even worse things.  Know that God loves you and is watching over you.  Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, ask yourself what you can do for someone else.  It will help.  Ask for God's guidance and you will receive it, and be comforted.  Bye for tonight.