Monday, December 10, 2012

December 9, 2012 - A Place I Rented – The Writer’s Retreat Kit

“Write about a place you rented.”  -   An exercise from The Writer’s Retreat Kit

The two-bedroom, blue-gray, small house on the corner appealed to me instantly with its big backyard, wood floors and windows inviting the outdoors to come indoors.  The garage door opener on the attached one-car garage was a bonus, being a single gal who came home after dark at times and during inclement weather.  The rent was within my budget as I embarked on solo life again from a floundering marriage.

It was a house that would become a home of light and hope with ample room to share with my two cats Rocky and Zeke.


Zeke – She was a bit psycho but lovable

Rocky Christmas 1986 on Chantilly Lane

Rocky at Christmas 1986 on Chantilly Lane in Houston, TX

I can hardly believe it has been 26 years since the above photo was taken.  I distinctly remember the scene as if it were yesterday.  Out of curiosity, I looked up the address on the Internet and found that it was built in 1955 (no surprise there), that its estimated value is around $250k and the current rent would be three times what I paid 26 years ago.

I have such fond memories of this comfy home:

  • The backyard was enclosed with a chain link fence; I enjoyed chatting over that fence with the elderly lady who lived next door.  I still remember her saying to me, “You certainly are a worker, always out doing something!” 
  • I installed a screen door on the kitchen back door and planted a flowerbed just outside that door along the side of the house. 
  • The trees in the yard shed their leaves each Autumn, and hours were spent raking those leaves.  Rocky helped . . .

Rocky at My House on Chantilly Lane

Can you find the cat?

  • The tree that shed these leaves was ideal for playing kitty hide-and-seek.  Rocky and I enjoyed many sessions of this fun game together.
  • This is where Rocky exhibited his guardian traits, running to the door and growling whenever anyone came calling.
  • This is where I used a lawnmower for the first time, initially a bit scared of it but soon maneuvering it with skill and confidence; the same can be said of an electric edger.  I tell ya, I kept my yards neat and tidy!  It was good exercise and good therapy for the mind and spirit.
  • My living room became filled with plants, some rescued from my workplace and others from a wee neighborhood nursery which provided plants for office buildings.  Once deemed unattractive, they were sold at highly discounted prices.  I once rescued  a group of 12 for $10!  They not only recuperated but flourished in my home.
  • Although having central heating, my home was cooled in the hot Texas summers by two window air conditioners, one in the living room and one in my bedroom.  The master bedroom was huge, with two walk-in closets.  Pretty nifty for a 1950’s home.
  • There was a big window over the kitchen sink allowing me to watch squirrels and birds while doing dishes.  I knew then I would always want a window over my kitchen sink wherever I lived.  (To this day, our RV has this feature.)  The kitchen was painted yellow, giving a light and cheery feeling to the room.
  • A very 1950’s bathroom, it was tiled in pink, black and white.  There was a gas wall heater for chilly mornings.  Did I mention cozy?

Although not sounding like an exceptional dwelling to you, it was the first house I rented on my own.  I arranged, decorated and furnished to express me.  Two authentic Danish chairs in my living room were quite a find at an estate sale, coming home with me for a price of $40 for the pair.  Cats, comfy furniture, plants flourishing . . . it became my haven and refuge during the time of loss of a relationship and the healing and blossoming of my spirit that followed.

Acquired as a necessity due to an ending – the ending of my marriage – it became a place of beginnings, of “firsts.”  The first time using a lawnmower, the first house I inhabited on my own, the first time I bought a car by myself, the first of many subsequent solo long road trips, the first time I nursed myself through an illness (strep throat with a fever that caused me to be somewhat delirious) and the first time to nurse my soul and spirit through a great emotional loss.

After almost two years, I decided the time to relocate had arrived.  Desiring to reduce my work commute and increase the distance between myself and my “ex” (he lived not far away and we would occasionally see each other in the mall, etc.), I reluctantly said good-bye to my special wee home, grateful to it for providing safe haven during a bittersweet period of my life.

Thanks for stopping by!

Warrior bracelet

I am a Warrior.

The above bracelet is a Toby and Max creation.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5, 2012 - Insecure Writer’s Support Group




Well, here we are again, time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post.  Last month at posting time, we were still without power and water as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  We’re fully back in the world . . . complete with both of us sharing a cold/flu bug between us.  I’m on the mend but still feeling a bit rough.

Truth be told, although I have thought about writing, I just can’t seem to get back in the groove.  This is my brain on decongestants/antihistamines = _______________ .  Flatline.

Well, okay, one afternoon I did work a bit on a chapter outline for my WIP.  I guess that counts.

Do I sound a bit insecure?  Absolutely.  Seems like this year it’s been one “forest fire” right on the tails of a previous one.  About the time I’m feeling “normal,” along comes something else that knocks me on my butt.  My energies (physical, spiritual and creative) are continually focused on maintenance of daily routines and recovery from whatever crisis just presented itself.  My butt has just about been kicked to the curb in 2012.

~~~~  sigh  ~~~~

I’m just going with the flow, reminding myself that there is a time for everything.  Right now I’m working on getting the last remnants of this bug out of my system, enjoying the holidays and winding down 2012 with a hopeful outlook towards 2013 as a less eventful year, at least a less negatively eventful year.  Positive events?  Bring ‘em on!

Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

November 22, 2012 - Our Thanksgiving

As it is just the two of us (and Maggie, of course), our holidays are typically low-key.  That does not mean, however, that we don’t do ‘em up right.

Thanksgiving flowers for table

I found this bouquet at the market yesterday when doing last-minute shopping.

There are no crews here today and that means no alarm clock.  Even without that, we were still up by 7:00 AM.  The turkey breast was in the oven not long after that, and Dave set off on a bike ride around eleven o’clock.  My day was spent in the kitchen preparing our holiday dinner.  I did get in my walk while things were in the oven, and Maggie joined me for part of that.

Thanksgiving table

Our table

Thanksgiving dinner


This year I have so much for which to be thankful.  My continued life on this Earth and sharing it with the love of my life and wee Maggie; our home; our lifestyle; our work; my blood family and extended family . . . being physically able to prepare a meal such as the above and being able to partake of it and having the finances to buy the food for such a dinner.

The list goes on and on.

We take this day to share with others what we are grateful for in our lives.

Shouldn’t every day be a day of thanksgiving?

Perhaps not voicing it in our blogs, Facebook or Twitter, but in our own hearts and minds?

I hope you and yours have had a safe and wonderful day filled with love, laughter, the making of sweet memories and, of course, good food!

Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 8, 2012 - Hurricane Sandy - Day 11


The Nor’easter was essentially a nonevent here last night.  During the day yesterday we had some rain and sleet which turned to wet snow in the afternoon, lasting overnight.  There was no accumulation.  The winds were a bit gusty and rather chilly today, but overall the temperature was up a bit.

We were alone here at the site today.  I went to the rec center around 11 AM for a much appreciated, long, hot shower.  Even though we are dressed appropriately (Dave and I both have insulated overalls) and our RV is indeed well-insulated, it was simply one of those days yesterday with a damp chill that it was just hard to get warm.  That shower this morning felt darn good.

Between us, Dave and I saw four different gas stations without fuel for sale today.  Things are far from the usual normal in the area at this point.

Shortly after I arrived home from my shower, I saw this.

Power truck convoy

This beautiful convoy of eight power trucks pulled into the driveway of the property!  What a sight to behold!  I went out to meet them and, sure enough, they were here to help us.


Within 30 minutes, they had us lit.  I turned off both generators, rigged the office trailer to hook our RV back in, checked the pump down in the pump house and bingo!  We had power and water!  (Dave was out grabbing some much-needed bike time to maintain what little sanity he had left at this point.) 


Tomorrow I can do laundry and start putting back together our home and the office.  Things have been a’clutter around here during the outage.  My office is how I left it – in hurricane mode – when we evacuated.  With no power (no heat, no lights) there was no sense in trying to mess with it.  Now that we have power, I can see if the cable Internet is working.

Earlier today Dave suggested we go to the Perkins Restaurant for breakfast Saturday as a wee treat.  Yum!  He doesn’t have to ask me twice!

Tonight we are absolutely chilling out.  I can take a shower before bed as is my usual routine.  We can turn in early if we want; no more staying up until 11 PM to refuel the generator.  Tomorrow I can put on fresh clothes.  I have been wearing the same insulated overalls (changing my top and other items) since the Monday Sandy blew through.  I have a second pair but was saving them in case these became totally disgusting and I needed clean ones.  That’s probably TMI, but there ya go; that’s the reality of the situation.

Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to those still without power and the basic comforts.  So many have lost so much and we keep them close. Even those we work with had a foot of snow overnight, are once again without power and have more trees down on their properties.

Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7, 2012 - Insecure Writers Support Group


It’s time yet once again for a post as part of the Insecure Writers Support Group.

We are wrapping up Day 9 without power and water.  Yes, we have a generator and are fine right now for bottled water.  (Thanks to the volunteers at Wal-Mart distributing free water the other day!)

Our days are focused on maintaining power to our RV, keeping ourselves and our wee doggie Maggie warm.  My writing efforts are limited to updating my blog chronicling our life on the road as full-time RVers.  I invite you to visit and follow along at Phoenix Once Again for a view of life before, during and after the Hurricane Sandy/Nor’easter combo.

Thanks so much for visiting!  Now go write!


I am a Warrior.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012 - Hurricane Sandy - Days 7 and 8 Off the Grid


Our days now revolve around power.  Here’s our daily routine:

7:00 AM:  Turn off generator and refill its tank.  Turn it back on to do breakfast, recharge various devices and get on Internet.

If needed, Dave goes in search of gas to refill our gas cans.

11:30 AM:  Turn off generator.

Around 4:30 PM:  Turn on generator.

10:30 PM:  Turn off generator, refill its tank and turn back on for the overnight shift.  Nights are below freezing, so we must keep the rig warm enough for us, Maggie and for our pipes, etc. 

7:00 AM:  Repeat the cycle.

It’s a juggling act keeping cell phones, laptops, batteries for the industrial-grade flashlights we use and other items charged.  This is charged; plug that in.  Repeat as necessary.

We’re also without water as we’re on a well here, so we’re very conservative with what we do use.

We are trying to stretch our power resources (generator, RV battery, propane) by using this rotation.


Day 7 Off the Grid

Dave left before 7 AM and was lucky to score some gas for our cans.  At Wal-Mart he also got four free cases (three one-gallon jugs per case) of water.  Volunteer workers encouraged him to take more water and some ice, but he declined; there are others who are in more need than us.

Neighbors across the street were so very gracious in allowing me to do a load of laundry – socks, undershirts, thermals and underwear.

Dave went to the Riegel Ridge Fitness Center to take of advantage  of a free shower.

I really don’t remember much else, but I know we stayed pretty busy until evening.


Day 8 (Today) Off the Grid

Day 8 matches our previous record off the grid which occurred during last year’s Nor’easter.  Looks like Dave gets his wish to break our record.

5:30 AM:  Awakened from an extremely deep slumber by a phone call from a power company lineman sitting at the gate needing onto the property.  He was going to begin preliminary steps to restoring power.

I was in a total zombie state all morning after being jolted awake.   Dave resumed clearing the property of fallen branches and larger limbs.  I fielded a few business calls and felt very out of it.

11:45:  It was my turn to boogie up to the fitness center for a luxurious hot shower and I knew I would feel better after showering.  One of the ladies at the reception desk remembered me from last year’s Nor’easter.  It was good to have a wee yap session with other women; that’s what I miss most about our situation here. 

While showering, my phone rang.  I wasn’t about to interrupt my luxuriating under the hot water, so when I checked my voicemail, Dave said there were about five power company trucks on the property.  They were here to continue the process of getting power back online, although we still have no idea when we will be restored.

Nov 5 at Fitness Center

Sunshine greeted me on exiting the fitness center for the first time in over a week!

My next stop was the market, where I picked up a few more provisions in view of the Nor’easter scheduled to blow in here Tuesday night/Wednesday.

The last of the power crew left the property just a few minutes ago.  They were mostly from Virginia, but also from Tennessee and North Carolina.  Told those guys how much we appreciate them coming up to help out.


Tonight is Guy Fawkes Night in Scotland and we wanted to have a campfire, even a wee one for a wee while.  Dave has wood prepared, and at this writing is going to see if the wind has died down enough to do so safely.

I will say that the company we are contracted to is working on a plan so we don’t get caught without power in the future.  I’ll also say that our security company is working to help us out financially a bit in the interim; we are forking out a lot of money right now for gas to keep us with power.

We didn’t plan to boondock, but we are; don’t look for us at Quartzite or on BLM land in Arizona.  We’re coping and very grateful for what we have, but we’re not incorporating boondocking into our RV lifestyle.

This was long and I apologize, but it was two days’ worth and then some. 

Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer, to cope with losses I dare not attempt to comprehend and to bravely rebuild their lives.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

I am a Warrior.




Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2, 2012 - Hurricane Sandy - Days 4 and 5


Day 4 – Thursday

Gas Lines Day 4

This photo was taken across the street from a large Quick Chek convenience store/gas station in town. The store is behind the blue dump truck and actually even off the photo, a bit to the left.  If you enlarge the photo, you’ll see a long line of cars waiting for gas.  This was taken in the late afternoon on Thursday.  The same scene was being played out at every station in the area that was open.

That’s all I’m going to say about Thursday except that it was a depressing and somewhat scary day, reading about the gas shortages, seeing it firsthand, seeing folks driving foolishly and dangerously,  and wondering if we would be able to keep our generator and ourselves going and, if so, for how long.

Day 5 – Friday

After coffee this morning, I called around to see who had gas.  Our usual local places didn’t even answer the phone and the Quick Chek mentioned above was out.  I called the TA truck stop on I-78 where we get propane.  The guy said they did, but the line was starting to get long.  Dave set out and was successful in filling our empty gas cans and the company truck.  He said it was pretty much a mess with semi’s going in and out of the truck stops and cars waiting in line for gas.

Cell phone service is better, but not yet 100% reliable.

I contacted the company who supplies propane and other gases to the mill; if I let them know about 24 hours beforehand, they can come fill our tanks.

Our main concern is getting gas for the generator.  Now we have enough to get through Monday morning, if we are conservative with our usage.

We then ventured out to the grocery store and were able to get food provisions, mainly soups and other dry types of meals.  I was lucky to find milk, eggs, cheese and some ground meat.  We stocked up pretty well because . . .

There is the possibility – or probability – that we will see the effects of a Nor’easter next week.  Even with a bit of ice, we will most likely lose power.  (Not that we have power right now . . .)   Of course, we lose power here sometimes even when it’s a nice day out!  I wanted to get a preliminary stock of provisions today versus over the weekend or at the last minute when everyone else would be shopping and already limited supplies would be diminished.

Although our onboard tank shows 3/4 full, we stocked up on bottled water today, too.  We are being very frugal.  We both had very quick showers Wednesday night.

Yep, today’s Friday.  We could use a wash.  Thank goodness for Handi Wipes!  That may have been TMI, sorry.

After returning home, there were still things to be done.  Fill the gen, crank it up.  Drain our water hose and disconnect it from the rig in case of freezing.  Check on a couple of things in the mill for the office down in Hamilton.  Things like that.

We did see this today . . .

First JCPL Truck on Property Day 5

This is the first JCPL truck on the property!  What a beautiful sight!  Unfortunately, they were here just to cut off a broken live wire and then had to go down the road to Finesville; there was a hot wire on the ground that had to be taken care of immediately.  I was told we probably will have power tomorrow; I’m thinking realistically that means Sunday or Monday if we’re lucky.

These guys are working hard; one of the linemen said they are provided two hot meals a day but they had been skipping lunch and just having dinner around 8 PM and working until 11 PM.  You bet I expressed our gratitude!  Even if we do not have power yet, they are getting power back to the area in general faster than after the Nor’easter in October of last year and faster than after Hurricane Irene last year.

Last week I had made stew and put some in the freezer.  It survived Sandy, so it thawed yesterday and tonight we had our first “real” hot meal since Monday’s breakfast.

Stew Day 5

Totally yummy with a bit of bread

Now we’re just chilling out; we’re both pretty dang tired.  The community center up the hill is open with free showers, so we will both take advantage of that tomorrow.

Well, hey, we just noticed that lights are back at the park across the street and in surrounding homes.  Our site is always the very last to have power restored.

Maybe tomorrow . . .

Thanks so much for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28, 2012 - Hurricane Sandy Update - Sunday


I think this will be short because I feel like I’m finally winding down and getting a bit tired.  No wonder; we were busy from the get today, securing our rig and the property as it affects our home.

We have been here at the hotel since around 3:30 PM or so.  It’s pretty much of a dive, but we knew to expect that.  We have WiFi in our room and cable TV, and got a little microwave and very tiny fridge.  Glad I brought the Handi Wipes; I’ve wiped down everything in the room, including microwave and fridge, and we stripped the beds of the bedspreads.   Good news is it is easy to take Maggie out for walks.  We were just looking for someplace nearby and for shelter for the next couple of days and nights.

We brought food for our own makeshift dinner of sorts.  There’s two queen beds, so this evening Dave and I each claimed one for a bit of lay down quiet time.  Maggie, as usual, split her distribution of affection between us, going from one bed after a while to the other.

Food, snacks, drinks, beer and Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur . . . and I still have a few pain pills, which may be a good thing after doing a lot of physical work the last couple of days.

Sandy is an historic storm, being about 900 miles in diameter.  If it wasn’t troubling, it would be a thing of awe. 

Starting tomorrow morning through Tuesday afternoon should be interesting, a bit rough and perhaps even a bit scary if things pan out like they say. 

We have done all we can, so all we do now is wait, monitor the situation, trying to stay safe and praying for a good outcome for ourselves and others in Sandy’s path.

Thanks for stopping by!


 I am a Warrior.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 27, 2012 - Updated Plans for Hurricane Sandy


After looking for a viable evacuation route yesterday morning for about two hours – checking forecasts for interstate highways and possible landing spots, talking with campgrounds about their forecasts and seeing that the weather there would be dodgy also – we altered our plans and will be hunkering down here.

We will close up, lock down and secure our rig and then move to a local hotel tomorrow.  We plan to check on the rig and property daily if weather conditions permit us getting out and about safely.

We spent the morning clearing the property around us of potential flying projectiles, taping windows in the office trailer and gathering items to take with us to the hotel. 

Staying or leaving is a crap shoot.  Our concerns with leaving included being out on congested highways with panicked folks and quite possibly encountering rough weather while traveling. 

Destinations I considered also had rough weather coming in either the form of Hurricane Sandy or wind/snow from the front approaching from the West.  We could conceivably end up in worse conditions than here. 

Even in ideal weather, there is always the risk of mechanical breakdown, blowouts, etc. when towing a 40-foot RV.

It’s a crap shoot either way and always has been in situations like this.  Living on the Texas Gulf Coast, I have sheltered in place and I have evacuated.

At least here we know the area and the resources available to us.  There are no trees directly around our rig to fall on it.  The Musconetcong River is 1-2 feet lower than it was prior to Hurricane Irene last year, so we are hoping that it will not escape its banks.  (Even during Irene when the river came out of its banks, the water did not threaten our rig at all.)  I have the iPhone app Flood Watch, which monitors river levels, so I can keep an eye on the “Muskie” from the hotel.

We are located essentially on the New Jersey/Pennsylvania border, inland from the coast (so hopefully Sandy will weaken a bit before reaching us, as hurricanes typically do once making landfall)  and in a valley with a mountain right behind us; therefore, we are  somewhat protected from winds, although we do get weird swirling winds here which could ultimately prove to be an issue. 

We have contacts to call who can see the property from their home nearby, so we can be in touch to monitor our rig and status of the property if need be.  If we have to come pull the rig out due to potential flooding, we should be able to haul it about a block up the road to higher ground like we did last year during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.  (That spot, although higher ground, leaves our rig much more exposed to winds, so we will only do it if flooding is a direct threat.) 

Our generator is construction-grade and too big to transport with us (and too heavy for just Dave and I to lift), so at least we will have a source of power here after the storm passes.  Genny got moved into the mill and higher ground today to stay cozy and dry.

Dave taking generator to mill

We have several full cans of gas for Genny.  We have four propane tanks; two are in the rig (and will be shut off prior to our leaving) and two full surplus tanks on-site.  That’s our usual routine, especially during Winter months.

The company we are contracted to has very graciously offered to pay for our hotel stay.  Although we are “only contractors,” they treat us with the most concern and caring from an employer I have seen in decades.  We all do seem to work together as a easygoing, respectful and fun team in both trialing times and when the going is easy.  We were even given the option of putting our rig in the mill; the boss would have sent guys up yesterday or today to move stuff out of the way if necessary.  We decided against this for various logistical reasons; besides, it would be too tight a squeeze getting it in.

Yes, we are taking a risk staying.  Our rig may get flooded, topple over or be otherwise damaged. 

We would have been taking a risk leaving.

We are hoping, as are millions others in the region, that we will come through just fine regarding material possessions, including our home.

It’s a crap shoot.  You weigh your options, make your decision and take your shot.  Then you live with your decision come what may.

As devastating as destruction of our home or vehicle would be, as long as Dave, Maggie and I are safe and together . . .

Life is good.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.




Friday, October 26, 2012

October 26, 2012 - Evacuating Due to Hurricane Sandy


Quick post to let everyone know our plan right now is to evacuate the area tomorrow morning.  Our destination is as of right now undetermined; I’m thinking south-southwest, just far enough to get us out of harm’s way.  We made the decision just a few minutes ago, so I’m in the process of looking at maps and checking forecasts and mileages.  We will return to our post here once it is safe to do so and we can get in.

To everyone in Sandy’s path, be safe and take care.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 20, 2012 - Write 4 Ten - Appendix (How My Appendix Saved My Life)




This entry is a “Write 4 Ten” story, in which one writes for ten minutes on a given prompt.  Want to try it for yourself?  Click on the little lady up there to visit Donna B. McNicol’s site.


You can read all about this lovely little body part on Wikipedia by clicking here.  In short, the appendix doesn’t really do much in our bodies these days after years of evolution, except . . .

I went to bed on July 10, this summer not feeling all that great and with a little crampy feeling.  (Okay, you may already think you know where we’re headed here.)  By 6 PM the following day, I was headed to emergent surgery in a local hospital with what was discovered to be a ruptured appendix.  By that time, I really didn’t care, as the morphine was doing its work and I was feelin’ pretty darn mellow.

My surgeon was absolutely tickled and perhaps a bit amazed, (“You’re doing so well, considering . . .” ) that I was up walking the halls the morning following surgery and was progressing so very well.  Fast forward to my follow-up visit with him about 10 days later for removal of stitches. 

Again, my postsurgical progression was almost extraordinary, considering the condition of my appendix at the time of surgery. 

That was the good news.

The not-so-good news was routine pathological examination of the appendix showed a tumor, defined as goblet cell carcinoid.  Goblet cell carcinoid is a very rare type of cancer with less than 1000 cases diagnosed in the USA annually and an overall 5-year survival rate of 76%. 

Actually, there was more good news.  Because of the appendicitis, the tumor had been found in its early stages, Stage IIA.  Following more extensive surgery a month after the appendectomy, I’m well on the road to recovery with a decent prognosis .

Had I not had the appendicitis, the tumor would not have been found until very probably in a more advanced stage and my prognosis would be much more dire.

My wee vestigial organ was looking out for me, along with whatever angel or spirit or being in which you might believe.  Yes, my appendix saved my life.

Have you hugged your appendix today?

Thanks for stopping by!  Now go write!


I am a Warrior.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012 - Write 4 Ten - In the Ambulance



This entry is a “Write 4 Ten” story, in which one writes for ten minutes on a given prompt.  Want to try it for yourself?  Click on the little lady up there to visit Donna B. McNicol’s site.


In August of this year, I experienced my first ambulance ride.  Although I was conscious and the situation was not immediately life-threatening, it did necessitate the calling for an ambulance and EMTs.

Looking back, some aspects were funny.  Well, at least to me with my somewhat “dark” sense of humor.  Ever look at the TV show “Emergency” or “ER”?  The ambulance staff is supposed to alert the hospital that they are in their way in with a patient.

These guys did not have the emergency room phone number of the hospital.  At least one did not have their cell phone with them.

So here’s where my inner strength persona Sarah Conner of the Terminator films kicks in.  “I have the hospital main number programmed on my cell phone.  You can call it and get routed to the emergency room.”

Sheesh!  Here I am the patient, for goodness sakes, and I’m providing resources for the ambulance staff!

Talk about being one’s own advocate in a healthcare situation.

Seems like one of them might have been fairly new or in training, as he appeared a bit unfamiliar with the operation of the stretcher.  All I could think about was “I sure hope they don’t drop me” when sliding the stretcher out of the ambulance and lowering the stretcher legs.  It looked like a bit of a drop to the ground from my viewpoint and I could just see a broken arm or ankle on top of my other medical issues.

I will say that they were professional, friendly and compassionate.  The three-man crew got me to the hospital where I needed to be, safe and sound and expeditiously with no incidents. 

Thanks to the staff of our local rescue crew for an interesting experience, albeit one I hope not to repeat for a long, long, long time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 16, 2012 - Look at the Picture Again


An exercise from The Writer’s Retreat Kit


“Look at the picture again.”

Rocky at My House on Chantilly Lane

Do you see the Cat?

His name was Rocky and, although he crossed The Rainbow Bridge many years ago, his love and joy still lives in my heart.

Snapshots of Our Life Together

  • Rocky was a “baseball cat,” one of the sons of Trina, the resident kitty at the home stadium of the El Paso Diablos Baseball Club in the early 1980s.  Back then, the stadium was known as “The Dudley Dome.”  I was the team’s Office Manager for a while back then. 
  • Acting more like a devoted canine companion than the feline variety, on more than two occasions Rocky positioned himself between me and a dog as if to protect me from harm.
  • His fur caught many a tear in the days mounting up to, through and following my first divorce.  He always seemed to know when to come cuddle up with me.
  • Living on my own again in the house with Rocky and his kitty pal Zeke, Rocky would go to the front door and growl any time someone would come calling.  Yep, just like a dog!
  • So many leaves in the above photo means there is a decent-sized tree around.  The branches in that tree were positioned perfectly for hide-and-seek and playing “tag” with my kitty-boy.  We shared that game the day the photo was taken and on countless other occasions. 
  • Rocky carried the feline leukemia trait from his mother and it became active when he was seven years old.  There were numerous vet visits and he was holding his own, although seriously ill. Working full-time, there came the day when Rocky was scheduled for an appointment following my work day.  In the early afternoon, I had a strong desire – a need – to check on him.  Luckily my boss was also an animal lover and understood my need to leave early from the job.  Entering my home,  I called to Rocky but he did not come to greet me as usual.  Going through the house, I came upon him in a bedroom. He had apparently jumped down off the bed to come meet me but collapsed on the floor.  Although his eyes were open and he was breathing, I could see that he was seeing the threshold of The Rainbow Bridge.  Cradling him in my arms there on the floor, I spoke softly to him.  I recalled some of our special moments together over the years such as in the photograph above and told him what a good and brave boy he was.  I told him how much I loved him and that, although I would miss him dearly, it was okay for him to go.  After several precious minutes together,  Rocky stepped up onto The Rainbow Bridge and crossed over, peacefully leaving this world for the next.
  • During the first year following his passing, Rocky would visit me during The Dreamtime.  Feeling so very real, the “dream” would be he and I strolling the streets of San Francisco together.  Rocky was never on a leash and sans that attachment in our nighttime adventures.  We were just two friends out for a stroll.  When I visited San Francisco a few years later, my thoughts turned to Rocky and our walks together.

I know that one day I’ll see my Rocky again and that we will have time for countless walks and hide-and-seek in the trees once more.

Rocky Christmas 1986 on Chantilly Lane

Christmas 1986 in Houston, Texas

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October 11, 2012 - Use It, Wear It


How many of us – especially us gals – have an item of clothing or a piece of jewelry, dishes or some item that we save for “special occasions?” 

In my life as a corporate professional 20+ years ago, my closet contained the appropriate clothing – suits, dresses, dress shoes, and so forth.  In addition, I had a few “party” ensembles, typically pants outfits. 

Fast forward a few lifestyles later to the one I am currently living.  Stereotypical “dressy” clothes just are not part of the scene, and I’m not particularly distraught by that fact.  Okay, I’m so totally okay with that fact!  Still, there are some nicer shirts and jackets and some jewelry that is nicer and/or has a sentimental attachment.

Well, folks, I’m here to tell you . . . if you like some piece of clothing, a set of dishes – whatever – use it, wear it, for Life is short.

What are you saving it for?  “That” special occasion?

Heeding my own words, I’m now wearing the bracelet Dave sent from Scotland for my birthday when we were still living across The Pond from one another.  It had been tucked away in my “good” jewelry box, but I took it out and started wearing it after I was told about my tumor this Summer.

What was I saving it for?  What if I was looking at my last days here on Earth?  I wanted to wear it, to have the energy, that piece of Dave and Scotland, with me at all times.  Besides, it just made me feel nice to have it on.  A little bit of pizzazz on my wrist.  After all, I am a girl . . .

It’s been on my wrist ever since, excepting when I had to remove all jewelry for surgery.

Sure, it could be damaged or come unhooked and slip off my wrist unnoticed; however, the joy of seeing and wearing it every day exceeds the risk. 

We left behind our “everyday” Corelle dishes when we hit the road as full-timers.  Instead, the ones we use are china and would be expensive to replace.  They have a Southwest pattern and colors that fit perfectly in my Texas home; previously we had used them on holidays, etc. 


When loading our rig 2+ years ago, we decided to take them along and use them.  If they get chipped or broken, so be it.  We like them and derive pleasure from using them.

Exactly why were we “saving” them?

So put on that fave shirt, jacket or earrings!

Isn’t every day a special occasion?

Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012 - Write 4 Ten - A Field of Flowers




This entry is a “Write 4 Ten” story, in which one writes for ten minutes on a given prompt.  Want to try it for yourself?  Click on the little lady up there to visit Donna B. McNicol’s site.


There were few flowers the day we gathered, coming together for a bittersweet occasion.  Among friends old and new, our purpose was to honor a loved one no longer with us on this Earth.  There was gentle laughter and quiet talk, old memories shared and new ones in the making.

I began reading the tribute to our loved one I had prepared in the prior days.  Smiling and fighting back the tears as I recited the words, I knew our beloved was present in Spirit and smiling her winning grin as she heard the words sharing her life and personality with the small gathering in the bright sunshine.

Our dog Maggie was with us, having come into our lives only a short two months prior.  She was her usual friendly self, only toned down a bit in what all remarked was a showing of respect to the one we were honoring. 


As my words finished, I noted I was not the only one with eyes misted over, yet there was an atmosphere of joy and love in the air.  What more could one ask at a life celebration for a dear one?

A few months later, I received photo from my friend, on whose property our celebration had taken place.


“Baby’s spot” was now covered in Texas Bluebonnets after nourishing rains, a lush field of flowers. 

I do believe my beloved canine companion  of so many years would be pleased that her ashes are part of not only Texas and such a lovely setting, but that she is resting with friends.

October 10, 2012 - Views of the Past Week


Maggie is doing absolutely great and will have her stitches out this Friday!


October 2012 in hospital

On October 5, grandson Oisin was born to Ian and Rose in Ireland.  I am so very honored that the blanket I knitted for grandson Fionn a few years ago accompanied them to hospital and is getting good use.


Oct 5 campfire

Oct. 5 campfire honoring Oisin’s arrival


Foggy Night

We’ve had some foggy nights



Beavers are busy on the property



The spiders are still busy, too!


Birthday cards

My birthday was very nice!


Office ready to go back to work

After taking care of work from our RV for the past three months, I cleaned and organized my office.  I’m about ready to move back over to the office in anticipation of increased activity around here in the coming weeks.



Mr. Sun has been shy lately.  (Office trailer in foreground; our rig in the background.)



We’re so lucky; we don’t have to drive around to take in the Autumn colors




Thanks for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 3, 2012 - Insecure Writers Support Group


Welcome to some new followers in September!  Thank you so much for joining up and for your kind comments!




Wow!  It’s already been another month and time for another post as part of the Insecure Writers Group

September was another month whose focus was on healing from my surgeries this summer.

I am thinking in a more creative direction a bit more frequently, so I suppose one could call that progress towards some serious writing again.

I did participate in a blog hop in September, The Follow-Swap Blog Hop sponsored by Katherine at Beyond the Hourglass Bridge.

Still, I just don’t feel emotionally, physically and creatively  ready to settle down to work.

Dave and I have been enjoying campfires in the evenings as often as practical and right now I’m soaking that up – enjoying our time together in the evenings tending the fire and talking; before long Winter will be here and campfires will be over for this year.

I’m back at work more (we are an on-site security team at a former paper mill, having this property and two others under our responsibility).  Yesterday, for instance, was very hectic with some issues and visitors to the property.

One of the issues is a black bear roaming the property and even being sighted inside the mill!  Yesterday the Fish and Wildlife warden delivered a bear trap with the hopes in relocating the bear.

Bear Trap 4

Additionally, our wee dog Maggie underwent surgery yesterday for removal of bladder stones.  Once she was home last evening and today, I have spent my day with her monitoring her progress and tending to her.  She’s doing fine, drinking and eating today, but still in a bit of discomfort and needing assistance in and out of our RV, etc..



My life is full and good.  I know my Muse is waiting patiently and that we will spend some quality, fun time together in the near future! 

Thanks ever so much for stopping by!


I am a Warrior.